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Delta King customers claim they saw a dolphin in Sacramento River

Bob Kaltreider spotted a harbor porpoise in the Napa River near his home in July 2015. Marine biologist Bill Keener says the porpoises enter the Napa area occasionally, but mostly live in the San Franscisco Bay.
Bob Kaltreider spotted a harbor porpoise in the Napa River near his home in July 2015. Marine biologist Bill Keener says the porpoises enter the Napa area occasionally, but mostly live in the San Franscisco Bay. Photo courtesy of Bob Kaltreider

Some Delta King customers have reported a dolphin sighting this week on the Sacramento River.

Delta King bartender Jaime Botello told Fox40 that is what he’s been hearing over the past two days.

Delta King customers said they were sure they saw a dolphin in distress, tangled in something but still swimming.

“A seal and dolphin sighting, and I thought that was kind of odd. I thought maybe the seal, because we do have a seal that comes up and down, especially in the summer time, to feed on the salmon,” Botello told Fox40. “But then I didn't understand what the dolphin thing was about. And then this morning one of our hotel guests came in and said that she had seen a dolphin swimming toward the Tower Bridge.”

No one captured any pictures of the creature, which has made investigating difficult for the Marine Mammal Center, which is in Sausalito.

Bill Keener, a marine biologist with Golden Gate Cetacean Research, said he will be able to determine the species once he has a photo.

“Harbor porpoises are very common in this area,” Keener said of the Bay Area. “Occasionally harbor porpoises get up into the Napa River. In the U.K., some porpoises travel 50 miles up river systems. I would really like to find out what the animal is,” Keener said.

If it is a harbor porpoise, there is no cause for concern, he said.

While the dolphin sighting has not been confirmed, the story is a reminder of when the whales Delta and Dawn swam up the Delta to the Sacramento area.

Editor’s Note: Previous versions of this story incorrectly stated that Bill Keener is a marine biologist with the Marine Mammal Center. We regret the error.

Jessica Hice: 916-321-1550, @JesserPea

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