The 6-foot common dolphin, dubbed "Fred" by spectators, appeared to be healthy, eating and in no danger.
But at least one wildlife expert is concerned about why it had isolated itself from others.
“He was scared, he was intimidated, he was bullied,” Peter Wallerstein of the Marine Animal Rescue told the Los Angeles Times.
Would-be rescuers on paddleboards nearly managed to coax the marine mammal back into the harbor near Huntington Beach, only to have him reverse course when two other dolphins showed up.
But another wildlife expert says he doesn’t entirely believe the dolphin was being bullied.
Dennis Kelly, chairman of the Marine Science department at Orange Coast College, told the Orange County Register that the other dolphins were just impatient with him.
Kelly imagined the dolphin interactions as being like, “You’re lagging behind, you moron. You’re not paying attention. Slap! OK, we’re leaving.”
Photo: Eve Cole