Dolphin near Marked Tree
Arkansas Razorback

Jonesboro, AR

#1 May 1, 2012
A dolphin that has made a temporary home in shallow waters at the siphons near Marked Tree, Arkansas. It may have been forced there by a brutish band of fish, says a wildlife expert who tried to steer it toward open water this weekend.

“He was scared. He was intimidated. He was bullied,” Peter Wallerstein, Professor of Biology, told The Jonesboro Sun.

On Friday morning, the black-and-white common dolphin was found swimming in circles 12 feet from the shore in the floodways near Marked Tree, Arkansas. Officials told ABC News affiliate KAIT Friday that the dolphin appeared disoriented and stressed and could be at risk of suffocating in the low waters.

Wallerstein said Monday that when wildlife rescue crews had tried to help the dolphin Saturday, a group of fish appeared, thrashing around and attacking the loner. Wallerstein said the dolphin eventually retreated back into the channel.

Richard Connor, a co-author of the study and a biology professor who has studied these particular dolphins for more than 20 years, told ABC News that male dolphins’ social lives were intense.

“They do get in fightswith various fish. They are in these incredible gangs — we call them ‘alliances.’ There are big fights between groups over their food,” Connor said.“Just like people they have squabbles. Relationships are complicated.”

There were no reports yet of a female dolphin being involved in this case. For now, crews have decided to allow the dolphin in the flooways to leave when he feels ready.

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