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Rescuers to harness wayward dolphin circling in Bolsa Chica wetlands

April 27, 2012 |  1:09 pm

Photo credit: KTLA-TVDivers are expected to swim into the Bolsa Chica wetlands area Friday to try to corral a wayward dolphin and take him back, harnessed, to the ocean.

As of noon, divers were waiting for the 7-foot dolphin to swim into shallower water.

“We’re looking and assessing and waiting for the right time to dive in,” said Dean Gomersall, animal care supervisor with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

Crowds coming to catch a glimpse have caused bumper-to-bumper traffic on Pacific Coast Highway. The dolphin was one of seven that swam into the wetlands Wednesday night.

“They were probably chasing fish through the Huntington Harbour and lost their way,” Gomersall said.

By Thursday, all but one had returned to the ocean. The dolphin splashed around in the murky water about 12 feet from shore. It swam in circles and chased fish as media helicopters hovered overhead.

Gomersall said the dolphin looked healthy and could go days without eating. But to be safe, his team wants to get the marine mammal back into the open sea.

“He looks very confused and we don’t want him to get too stressed out,” Gomersall said.

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-- Esmeralda Bermudez

Photo: Observers on land watch the dolphin circling. Credit: KTLA-TV

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