The first harbor porpoise of the winter season was spotted around the Boston Harbor on Feb. 15.
Paul Moore of Dorchester noticed the porpoise in the Savin Hill Cove while it dived up and down, its fin and back breaking the water, parallel to the beach. Moore took a video which he posted to a friend's social media site, causing it to gain much attention.
The New England Aquarium was alerted to the video and identified the creature as a harbor porpoise, the smallest dolphin species native to New England.
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"The porpoise appears to be behaving normally and does not appear to be in any distress," said Connie Merigo, head of the Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Team. "The porpoise is close to shore, which for any other cetacean (whale, or dolphin), would be of concern, however harbor porpoise got their name because they are comfortable in shallow areas such as bays and harbors."
According to the New England Aquarium, harbor porpoises are difficult to spot due to being only 4.5 to 6 feet long and having a small back fin. They are often not noticed as they only come during mid-winter and early spring when the waters are colder and there are not many visitors to the harbor.
These porpoises come to harbor for food, but leave by April or May for deeper waters in the Gulf of Maine, the New England Aquarium reports. More porpoises have been spotted in the Boston Harbor in recent years following the harbor clean-up.