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Dolphin Spotted In East River

By  Jeff Mays Victoria Bekiempis and Aidan Gardiner | March 13, 2013 12:35pm | Updated on March 13, 2013 2:47pm

 A dolphin was spotted in the East River near East 96th Street, March 13, 2013.
A dolphin was spotted in the East River near East 96th Street, March 13, 2013.
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UPPER EAST SIDE — A dolphin was spotted swimming in the East River Wednesday morning.

The dolphin was spotted swimming in large circles reaching from East 96th Street up to East 106th Street at 11:45 a.m., drawing a large crowd of gawkers and officials.

Kim Durham, rescue program director for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, said organization staffers are monitoring the situation via submitted photos. She added that the dolphin — most likely to be a Bottlenose — did not appear injured.

"It's certainly unusual to have an animal in there. My interest is piqued. Knowing what species it is could help us determine how unusual it is and if anything is wrong," she said, adding: "We're not seeing anything that would make us intervene. But we're missing critical information."

New York State Environmental Conservation Police Officer Tim Machnica, who was at the scene Wednesday, said the dolphin could either be a Common or a Bottlenose Dolphin. He added that it did not appear injured or ill.

"It moves like it's not necessarily sick," Machnica said, "I was expecting it to be half belly-up."

Some people who worked nearby came to the water's edge to gawk at the spectacle. Several women screamed "there it is!" every time the dolphin poked its head out of the water.

"I came over here today and saw it jump in and out of the water," said Jason Campos, a NYCHA worker on his lunch break. "I hope it makes it out of here alive."

Machnica said many marine animals have been spotted in the water who have not been sick, he said.

"I've seen packs of them in the Rockaways. There's even been a seal in Inwood," he said.

In January, an injured dolphin swam up the Gowanus Canal where it died.