A single dolphin has been swimming by himself for the past five days in the Bolsa Chica waters off Southern California and some believe he may be the victim of bullying, NBCLosAngeles.com reports.
It is believed that the dolphin is not allowed to leave the Huntington Beach nature preserve as a result of the other dolphins preventing him. Peter Wallerstein, director of Marine Animal Rescue has been quoted as saying that this is extremely rare because dolphins are social creatures, which usually together in a pod.
“He was scared, he was intimidated, he was bullied,” Wallerstein told the Los Angeles Times. Dolphins “can be very aggressive toward each other. They’re not the sweet, loving, gentle animals portrayed by the movies and the cartoons. They do have a dark side.”
He and other wildlife experts tried to use paddle boards to get the dolphin to go back into the ocean. But when the dolphin, who is has been dubbed Freddie, tried to make his way back, two other dolphins came up and seemed to block his path. Instead of fighting the other dolphins, Freddie swam under to paddle boards and made his way back to the wetlands, according to MSN.com.
Dennis Kelly has been studying dolphins and marine life for 34 years and disagrees with Wallerstein. He said told the Orange County Register that the other dolphins might be mad at Freddie, and that is different than bullying him.
“Maybe the others are angry,” Kelly, an instructor of Orange Coast College, was quoted as saying. “‘You’re lagging behind, you moron.’ Maybe they were going whack it. ‘You’re not paying attention. Slap! OK, we’re leaving.’”
Freddie has been feeding on fish for the time being and hanging solo for now as marine experts continue to keep a close eye on him.