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Wayward dolphin in Bolsa Chica wetlands; rescuers to help free it

April 27, 2012 | 11:53 am

A rescue operation was underway Friday morning to help a wayward dolphin that somehow ended up in the Bolsa Chica wetlands, far from the comforts of his ocean home.

The dolphin apparently swam into the wetlands in northern Orange County Wednesday night with six other dolphins, said Dean Gomersall, animal care supervisor with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

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

PHOTOS: Wayward dolphin stuck in Bolsa Chica wetlands

By Thursday, all but one of the dolphins had returned to the ocean.

On Friday morning, he was splashing around in the shallow, murky water about 12 feet from shore. He swam in circles and chased after fish as media helicopters buzzed overhead, eager to catch him on camera.

Gomersall said the 7-foot common dolphin looked healthy and could go days without eating, but to be safe, they planned to prod him back into the ocean surf using a harness.

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

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-- Esmeralda Bermudez

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