The Great Dolphin Escape

Some good news in: the following email came in on 1/23/09 from the NOAA’s Teri Frady:

NOAA’s NJ dolphin website has been updated with photographs from our January 13 observation trip.  NOAA scientists reported that the five animals (NJ02, NJ03, NJ07, NJ09, NJ12) present in the Shrewsbury River were behaving normally and were in apparent good body condition:

In recent days we’ve spoken with one eyewitness who was with a group of people when he saw multiple animals leaving the Shrewsbury River on Thursday morning (Jan 15) by swimming under the bridge and into Sandy Hook Bay, apparently headed for open ocean. At present, the location and condition of 13 of the original 16 animals is unknown.  Without confirmed resightings, it is not possible to know if they are alive or dead, still in the river system or elsewhere. Aside from the eyewitness account, there have been no confirmed sightings since Jan 13.

NOAA will conduct a thorough water-based survey of the Shrewsbury-Navesink as soon as weather and icing conditions permit.

Eyewitness accounts of dolphins seen leaving the area on Thursday have appeared in local papers:

Also in the Two River Times published in yesterday’s issue for the week of January 23 -30, to be posted to the website next week:

We urge anyone who sees, or has seen, the dolphins since January 13, to let us know at


January 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm Leave a comment

Info on River Hunting Ban Petitions

Time is of the essence for the Navesink / Shrewsbury rivers hunting ban petitions. For more info: Peaceful Rivers blog. If you live in those areas and are interested in canvassing your neighborhood for signatures contact:

You can also contact Governor Corzine directly:
PH: 609-292-6000
The Hon. Gov. Corzine
P.O. Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

January 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm Leave a comment

5 Remaining Dolphins Feared Dead

Bob Schoelkopf, co-director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center fears the remaining 5 dolphins may be dead.

The remaining 5 dolphins have not been seen since Thursday 1/15 and the rivers have frozen. The weekend prior they were seen in Sandy Hook Bay, only to return to the Shrewsbury River twice (once on Saturday, once on Sunday).

If anyone has seen them since last Thursday or has found any dolphin carcasses, please reach out to the contact info posted below in “Dolphin Sightings? Anyone?”.

Since no carcasses have been found, and they showed recent interest in leaving the river, I feel it’s entirely possible that they made it to the ocean. We may not know for sure until spring.

January 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

Dolphin Sightings? Anyone?

The remaining dolphins have not been seen in a day or so. Today I received the following email from Teri Frady from the NOAA:

NOAA staff made observations from numerous locations along the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers today. They did not observe any dolphins. They report that during this time, the area east of the Oceanic Bridge was ice-free down to the confluence of the two rivers and northward toward open ocean. Also the Shrewsbury was free of ice from the confluence of the two rivers at least upriver to Sea Bright, where the dolphins spent considerable time this summer. If you have see the dolphins, please let us know.

If anyone has any recent information on the dolphins, please contact:
Marine Animal Stranding Station at 609-266-0538 or
Teri Frady at the NOAA:

In addition to her feature in the New York Times as an Edgewater Parrot defender, Alison Evans-Fragale is a Marine Animal Stranding Station volunteer. She combed the rivers today via kayak in 16 degree weather – which was even colder on the water (yup – a real “tough-cookie” Jersey Girl). After a 2 hour search she did not find any dolphins, alive or dead. Her paddle spanned the Sandy Hook Bridge south to McLoone’s in Sea Bright, and then the other side of the shore. She scanned residential beaches with binoculars and found nothing.

The Stranding Center feels their blubber is next to none now, and they cannot survive in the icy water. I’m unclear if this means they can’t make it to southern/warmer waters if they did successfully make it out of the river. A center in Florida had offered to cover the cost of a rescue operation, but the NOAA declined. But who’s to say the dolphins didn’t leave on their own after all? Since the rivers are not entirely frozen over, it makes me hopeful that the pod made an exit back to the ocean.

January 16, 2009 at 6:20 pm 1 comment

Ban Hunting on The Navesink / Shrewsbury Rivers

On a side note, I’d like to give a mention to the Navesink / Shrewsbury Rivers organization, Peaceful Rivers. They’ve proposed to ban bird hunting on our local rivers where the dolphins are, and with good reason.

River residents are given the morose task of disposing of  the dead/dying birds who’ve wandered onto their property after being shot, and not recovered by its shooter. We can all agree that gunfire in your backyard is dangerous, let alone noisy and unnerving. There is an interesting article in today’s Hub on page 20 for more information.

Check out Peaceful Rivers blog. Please support them. 

If you are interested in canvassing your neighborhood (on the Navesink / Shrewsbury rivers) with a petition to ban hunting, reach outwith a request to and you will be emailed one.

Contact Governor Corzine:
The Hon. Gov. Corzine
P.O. Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

January 15, 2009 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

Dolphin Blah Blah Blog

Last night’s NOAA meeting about the dolphins sounded like quite a soiree. Work kept me from attending, but I’m interested in feedback. If anyone was able to attend the last NOAA meeting, we welcome you to post your interpretation of the event.

Our dolphin blog had it’s 15 minutes of fame in Wednesday’s blog – about, well…blogs.

January 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment

Baby Steps Back to The Ocean?

Monday’s (1/12/09) story on NJ12 News claimed that 3 of the remaining dolphins were seen in Sandy Hook bay. This is apparently not the pod’s first attempt to leave according to the Huffington Post article. They were seen trying to cross on Saturday and again on Sunday.

I’ve heard on NJ12 that they were in the bay, which I assume meant they crossed the bridge. But maybe I’ve misinterpreted what is considered “the bay” – meaning where the bay starts/ends. Regardless, the dolphins hightailed it back into the Shrewsbury River. 

 Has anyone heard anything about the bridge construction ceasing? The contractor of the bridge has agreed to cease work on the bridge for the dolphins to leave. What’s the hold up?

NJ Senator Robert Menendez has been calling on the NOAA to act. He’s pushing for the removal of the dolphins. His contact information can be found in the Links section to the right of this post.

January 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

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