These are dark times for dolphins. Earlier this week, villagers in the Solomon Islands slaughtered as many as 900 dolphins as part of a he-said-she-said dispute with the Earth Island Institute.
Over the past two years, the Institute worked to reach an agreement with the villagers whereby they would pay them to stop the hunt. By the villagers’ account, the institute failed to live up to their agreement, paying them only a fraction of the promised $400,000. They say they were left with no choice but to return to the hunt. However, the Institute’s David Phillips claims that a small group of villagers seized control of the funds and has not distributed them.
The dolphin trade still thrives in the Solomon Islands, where a captive dolphin can sell for as much as $150,000
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a dolphin has become trapped in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, a heavily polluted Superfund site that runs through the center of the borough. According to eyewitnesses, the dolphin appears distressed and its breathing labored.
The incident is causing something of a media frenzy in New York, where marine mammals are admittedly somewhat uncommon. NBC New York currently has a live feed of the crisis, and the Gothamist has a correspondent reporting from the scene.
Rescuers from the Riverhead Foundation are currently en route, while police are attempting to guide the dolphin out with a boat.
UPDATE: Rescue efforts were unsuccessful and the Gowanus Dolphin has died. Witnesses described seeing blood coming from the animal's back, which suggests it was dying before it entered the canal. The dolphin is not the first animal to become trapped in the canal. In 2007, a mink whale swam up the canal and was trapped for two days before it died.