Dolphin In New York: Everything You Need to Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Dolphins In New York
Dolphin In New York: Everything You Need to Know About Them

Staying in New York? Then it must be common to spot rats, squirrels, and pigeons roaming about in and above the city’s busy streets. 

Although Dolphins are a rare addition to this, they were just spotted in the East side river a few months back. In January too one dolphin was spotted in the Bronx River. What is actually going on? And what is the history and present situation of Dolphin presence in New York state? 

I know you have more questions and I’ve answered them all in the below sections.

Are There Any Dolphins In New York?

Yes, as New York City is a coastal area, it is obvious that there might be visitations from creatures like dolphins. In addition to whales and porpoises, many species of dolphins too can be found in the coastal waters of the city and the state in general. 

In fact, dolphins are found on the west coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean and east coast which includes New York’s shorelines. 

It is important to note that Dolphins prefer to live in saltwater environments, and it is rare to find them in rivers. The last sighting of a dolphin before this year was actually in 2017 which is way back in the past. 

Types Of Dolphins That Live In New York

As per the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, out of the many species of dolphins, three species are often sighted on the south shore of Long Island. 

These include Bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, and Risso’s dolphins. And out of these the Bottlenose dolphins which are known for their unique click and whistle sounds are most common as they live in coastal waters close to shore like in ports and bays. 

Pilot whales may be difficult to spot as they are commonly found on the shelf edge in deep water.

Where Do Dolphins Live In New York?

Dolphins In New York
Dolphin In New York: Everything You Need to Know About Them

New York state’s water including the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound supports a range of unique marine creatures. Although Dolphins don’t typically live in them, they occasionally are spotted visiting these locations for food, especially in summer when the water is productive. 

They sometimes even venture into connected river systems in search of food sources. In New York City, these creatures have been commonly spotted in the Hudson River where the salt water from the Atlantic meets the river water. They are less common to observe in the Bronx River.

Also, Check Our Guide On Dolphins In Orlando

How Many Dolphins Are In New York?

Now, unlike terrestrial creatures, it is very difficult to tell the number of marine creatures living especially when they inhabit seas and oceans which have a large range. It is quite futile to try to measure the population in such habitats. But wildlife agencies and Environmental protection agencies often measure the visitations. 

Yes, Dolphins don’t particularly live on the state’s shores but often travel in and out into the deep ocean. Although there are no particular numbers, the sight of a dolphin swimming and displaying its acrobatic skills is not a common observation in the state.

Why Are There Dolphins In Nyc?

New York City (NYC) is surrounded by the east coast and therefore it is common sense that some dolphin species might be visiting the city waters. And this is precisely the case. 

Dolphins can be spotted in ports and bays of cities including that of New York. And as they are known for migrating long distances, dolphins can also be found in adjoining rivers like the Bronx and the East side river which connects with the Atlantic Ocean. The recent sightings of dolphins in Bronx River are believed to be due to the dolphins reaching the river in search of fish for consumption.

Can You Own A Dolphin In New York?

As per the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, Dolphins are protected from catching and killing and it is strictly prohibited. 

These acts are considered inhuman and illegal. Although there are no specific laws in New York to keep them as pets, it is a common belief that it is illegal to capture and domesticize them, and doing so will be considered felony animal abuse. 

Having said that, special exceptions include possessing dolphins for education, research, rehabilitation, and entertainment purposes.

Can You Swim With Dolphins In New York?

Yes, there are a few Dolphin swim tours provided in New York. Before you choose to go into one, make sure to check that these providers and operators are legit, have a license for owning and possessing dolphins, and take care of the creature well. And also make sure to not apply chemicals on your face before you get into the water as these may affect the health of dolphins.

But if you just want to see dolphins in action, there are many places in the state. American Princes Cruises, Pan Aqua Diving, New York Harbor Jetski, Sea Life Aquarium – New Jersey, and New York Aquarium are a few of the spots you should take a look at.

Why Is It Illegal To Be Around Dolphins?

Ah! I think you have misunderstood the clause. As per the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, it is not illegal to be around dolphins, but it is illegal and inhuman to possess these creatures. 

Due to extensive hunting and habitat loss, these creatures almost were extinct but since the listing into the protection act, these creatures have been able to revive back. Although some places do allow you to swim with these creatures, you cannot touch them and need to maintain a certain distance from them for their and your safety.


And that was everything you need to know about the Dolphins In New York. I hope this article answered all the queries.

Our Source For This Guide.

Scroll to Top