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Common Bottlenose Dolphin Near SFO!

Ernestina, a Common Bottlenose Dolphin that was spotted in a canal near San Francisco International Airport on July 11, 2012, is now back out to sea!

July 12, 2012

We sent one of our rescuers out this morning to see if the dolphin was still in the canal, but he did not spot Ernestina after walking the entire length of the canal out to the bay. She was last reported swimming in the general direction of the ocean last night, and it appears that she made the journey, safe and sound! But how did she get her name?

Closeup of the bottlenose dolphin named Ernestina that was spotted swimming in a canal near SFO on July 11, 2012.
© Izzy Szczepaniak - Golden Gate Cetacean Research

While she was in the canal, marine scientists from Okeanis and Golden Gate Cetacean Research were able to take photos of the dolphin, particularly the fluke, and have been able to identify her as an animal they've been tracking for a number of years! According to Bill Keener of Golden Gate Cetacean Research, the dolphin is an adult female named Ernestina and has been seen in Monterey Bay for the past few years. Ernestina was last spotted in 2011 off of Fort Point, near the Golden Gate Bridge, along with six other dolphins.

The flukes of dolphins and whales are unique, with no two being alike. This has helped scientists catalog information about particular animals in the wild, including their travel patterns.

July 11, 2012

Watch report from ABC 7 news

The sighting of a dorsal fin of a Common Bottlenose Dolphin just above the water line of Colma Creek in South San Francisco late this morning was quite a surprise for many onlookers who lined the sides of the canal to get a better glimpse of the animal. The dolphin was swimming around in circles when one of our rescuers arrived to assess the situation. The dolphin is estimated to be 12-feet-long and appears to be in good general health and free swimming. Our next plan of action is to keep this animal on watch and give it every natural opportunity to get re-oriented and swim back out to sea with the rising tide, which was coming in as of 4 p.m.

If the dolphin is still in the area Thursday morning, The Marine Mammal Center and National Marine Fisheries Service will look at a new plan of action.

Learn more about Common Bottlenose Dolphins 
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