On Wednesday, a dolphin was spotted swimming around in the East River near 96th Street. Officials maintained that the bottlenosed dolphin wasn't injured, and it fell off the radar midday Thursday. But this afternoon, the Riverhead Foundation was informed that a dolphin was spotted in distress on the other side of the East River, near Astoria, Queens. They've since established that the dolphin is not in distress—and it may very well be the same one from earlier this week!
"It appears to be an animal on the Queens side of the East River, so it could be the same animal that's there," Riverhead Foundation director Rob DiGiovanni told us. "It was free swimming and diving like the other one was doing." He said the person, who initially called in the dolphin sighting around 4 p.m. Friday, claimed it was in distress. But after talking to them, DiGiovanni established that it wasn't, since it was approximately 200 yards off the shore (and not onshore, as was first feared).
For now, Riverhead will continue monitoring the dolphin, and reassess the situation tomorrow. They say they don't want to bring undue stress onto the animal by bringing boats near it if they don't need to. "We don't know why it would or wouldn't be attracted there, but we don't see anything that would be obstructing it from leaving the area," DiGiovanni tells us.
John Lipscomb of Riverkeeper told Fox that the East River is not an ideal spot for a dolphin to end up: "Four hundred and fifty combined sewer overflows during rain events, 30 billion gallons during rain events, come just under 30 billion gallons of combined sewage and water off the streets, neither of which you would put in your aquarium or in your bathtub," he explained.