Stranded Dolphin Attempts to Reenact Free Willy on Smaller Dolphin Scale

Rescuers are trying to help a stranded dolphin return to the ocean after the animal got trapped in a narrow wetlands channel off the California coast. Actually, this is nothing like Free Willy, but when you think of marine mammals and miraculous rescues, what other film springs to mind?

As of this post, the dolphin has not managed to find open waters, but wildlife experts are confident it will. Capturing the animal would prove too risky for the dolphin, so they may have to try the "shoo it away" approach if it ends up being stubborn.

A swimmer and two lifeguards on paddleboards entered the water to test the dolphin's reaction, and a decision was made to let the healthy, strong and fast dolphin try to find its own way out, said Dean Gomersall, animal care supervisor at the nonprofit Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

The 7-foot-long "black-and-white common dolphin" is part of a pod with five others. Those dolphins haven't found themselves stranded in the channel, though they're still chilling in Huntington Harbor and may also have to be nudged out.

[Image via Flickr/ajmexico]