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Wayward Dolphin Won't Get Forced Out of Wetlands

The dolphin was first seen swimming in circles on Friday, April 27, 2012 (Screenshot/ABC7)
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A wayward dolphin that has been laying low in local wetlands since Friday will not be prodded out to open waters, say marine animal experts, unless its health deteriorates.

The dolphin, a female weighing an estimated 500 pounds, was first spotted Friday morning swimming in circles in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach. A crew from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) was immediately dispatched to ascertain the mammal's condition and to interfere, if necessary.

However, by later that day, the PMMC crew determined it would be best to let the dolphin be, since the animal did not seem to be in peril or ill.

Today, the observation continues, according to City News Service.

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"We're going to observe, and make decisions minute by minute,'' said veteran sea mammal wrangler Peter Wallerstein of the El Segundo-based nonprofit Marine Animal Rescue group.

Wallerstein says forcing the dolphin out of the wetlands might do more harm than good: "It could be a death blow to the dolphin if we force him or her out of the wetlands,'' into a pod that would bully it, Wallerstein said, citing aggression among dolphins.

On the weekend, marine mammal experts were able to coax the dolphin into deeper water, but apparently other dolphins bullied the "wayward" mammal and she retreated back into the shallower lagoon waters.

The dolphin is faring well in the wetlands, and managing to get enough food and water. Experts believe that the dolphin wound up in the wetlands Friday while following some food.

This video released early Saturday shows the crowd gathered to check out the stranded dolphin: