A DOLPHIN at the centre of a rescue mission has disappeared.
The animal spent most of last Friday swimming languidly in circles in the harbour after volunteers helped free it from the mud at Bosham Hoe in Chichester Harbour.
The RSPCA was on hand to put the animal down if needed, but when Chichester Harbour Conservancy members returned the next day it had vanished.
Phil Walker, deputy harbour master, said: ‘It seems to have swum away although nobody saw it.
It’s pleasing if it’s a happy outcome, though invariably if an animal is ill or injured they might swim somewhere else to die.
‘It was spotted on the mud and after we gently put it back in the water it spent the day mostly circling around slowly, making no attempt to swim seaward.
‘Its breathing rate was regular when we left it when it got dark, but when we came back the next morning it had gone.
‘We’re keeping our fingers crossed it’s a happy ending and it just recovered itself and was on its way.’
There was an unconfirmed sighting of a dolphin swimming under Langstone Bridge. It is thought to be the first dolphin in Chichester Harbour for over a decade.