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Dolphin stuck in metal ring found swimming at Hokkaido port

A dolphin stuck in a ring-shaped metal object is seen swimming. (Photo courtesy of the Mombetsu Coast Guard Office)

MOMBETSU, Hokkaido -- The Mombetsu Coast Guard Office in this northernmost prefecture has released footage showing a dolphin stuck in a metal ring swimming at a local port.

The thin and weak-looking dolphin unexpectedly appeared in the port on the Sea of Okhotsk but swam away after being filmed. A local official coast guard office said that the foreign object could be ocean waste. "The dolphin may not be able to move freely as the object is stuck around its body. I hope people will stop thoughtlessly throwing waste in the sea," they said.

The footage was recorded by a crew member of the coast guard office's Sorachi patrol vessel on the afternoon on July 8. The office asked the Institute of Cetacean Research to view the footage and it confirmed the animal to be a Pacific white-sided dolphin. The species normally inhabits the North Pacific.

The ring-shaped object doesn't appear to be a research tool and could be part of fishing equipment, according to the office.

(Japanese original by Takeshi Honda, Kitami Local Bureau)

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