Hungry dolphin ends up in the Schuylkill

Posted: May 02, 2008

The dolphin was following the fish and the police were following the dolphin - until they lost it near Philadelphia International Airport.

Authorities think that the dolphin is not hurt, just hungry.

It apparently followed a school of herring that was swimming up the Delaware to spawn and veered off into the Schuylkill, where it was spotted yesterday by the police Marine Unit near the Art Museum, said marine unit officer Anthony Kowalski.

The falls at the Art Museum proved too much for the dolphin, so it turned around and headed back downstream, Kowalski said.

The cops figure that the hungry visitor might spend a few more days here feeding but then will probably return downriver with a full belly.

Kowalski reported that the people at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N.J., said that they weren't worried about the dolphin, which apparently has enough sense to avoid big tankers coming upriver, but feared recreational boaters might strike it.

Since the Delaware's been cleaned up, the river has become more welcoming to ocean denizens, Kowalski noted.

A baby gray seal was spotted cavorting in the Delaware, most likely following schools of herring or shad swimming upstream to spawn, in April 2006.

The previous year, a 12-foot beluga whale swam up the Delaware looking for herring. *

- Gloria Campisi

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