Hudson River Dolphin Is Dead

I just received word that the Hudson River dolphin was found dead early this morning (Thursday, June 21st) near Pier 59 on West 18th Street, not far from where it was seen swimming in circles four days earlier.

Photo: DNAinfo/Matthew Katz. Click photo to view article at

Until today, I had not heard of any further sightings after Sunday  afternoon.

According to, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation has retrieved the body, which showed no obvious signs of trauma, and will perform an autopsy within the next few days to determine the cause of death.

Poor little dolphin. Yes, little.

The Atlantic bottlenose dolphin can weigh 800 pounds, according to the National Aquarium.

Photo: The Dolphin Place (click to visit website)

But according to Matthew Katz of DNAInfo, the NYC dolphin weighed just 150 pounds. It seems likely that it was a young animal, perhaps one that became separated too soon from its mother.  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is raising an orphaned dolphin that is now “almost one year old and weighs in at 150 pounds.”  We’ll know more after the Riverhead Foundation has examined the animal.

Dolphins are highly social animals that travel in groups called pods and have a complex range of whistles, squeaks, and barks that they use to communicate with each other. Young dolphins nurse for 18 months or more, and may stay near their mothers for several more years.

As with many wildlife species, the mortality rate in the first year of life is high.  Nature has a way of reminding us that life is not for the faint of heart.  But hey, how many alternatives do we have?

Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, In the City, Sea Mammals, Wildlife/Natural History

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9 Comments on “Hudson River Dolphin Is Dead”

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  2. This is heartbreaking – poor little dolphin! x

  3. Such a shame, but a quite common outcome when whales and dolphins turn up in unusual places. This story about a bottle nosed whale from 2006 in London ended in similar circumstances –

  4. Charlotte Says:

    How similar animals and humans are. Being separated too soon from a mother or group has drastic consequences.

  5. Liz H Says:

    Sad news, but it will be interesting if the autopsy reveals anything.

  6. This is the first time I heard about the dolphin in the city. Too bad the news is so sad.

    • Andre Says:

      in the past two years they have been spotted close to City Island in the Bronx (from the Long Island Sound)…. and even near the Newtown Creek in Brooklyn.

  7. Barbara Says:

    Such terrible and sad news… I had big hopes that this fellow was going to make it but I suspect your conclusion is correct given its size… a baby separated from mother and pod somehow – followed a boat perhaps, or got disoriented by the noise of boats or underwater drilling. Bottlenose Dolphins are such extraordinary creatures, well-loved by all who remember Flipper or visited a seaquarium…ah well as you said life is very tough whatever kind of creature you happen to be, human, animal, bird – you name it.

    Hope that something comes along to brighten your day Melissa and thank you for keeping us up to date on this story, even though the outcome isn’t what we wanted.

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