Dolphin strandings reach record numbers Tuesday

Ten more dolphins successfully ushered out of Wellfleet Harbor
On Monday, three male dolphins successfully rescued from Wellfleet, were checked, tagged and transpored to Scusset Beach in Sagamore where they were released. © IFAW/M. Baumgarten.

Tuesday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare's (IFAW) marine mammal rescue team responded once again to the Herring River on Wellfleet Harbor, where eleven more dolphins were stuck in deep mud at low tide.  According the Kerry Branon, IFAW media asset manager, eleven dolphins originally stranded, but one died shortly after becoming stuck in the mud.

The other ten, were examined, tagged and re-floated as a group when the tide came back in, said Branon. Using their Zodiac inflatable boat and the Wellfleet Harbormaster's boat, the team herded the ten dolphins out of the harbor and into deeper water.

Including Tuesday's numbers, this is now the largest stranding on record in the Northeast at 177 dolphins, according to Branon. The mass stranding began on January 12 and dolphins have been stranding along the bay from Dennis to Wellfleet sending IFAW rescuers, researchers and volunteers to Cape beaches and inlets almost every day.

The disturbingly high number of strandings breaks down as follows:

  • 177 dolphins have stranded since January 12
  • 106 have been found dead, 71 alive
  • of the 71 found alive, 53 have been successfully released

Between Sunday and Monday, teams successfully rescued eight Common dolphins, three from the area near the Chequessett Yacht Club on Monday and five at Wellfleet Harbor. The three male dolphins rescued near the yacht club were transported and released at Scusset Beach in Sagamore.  The five from Wellfleet Harbor were herded back into deeper water. Three dead dolphins were also found over that two day period.

Rescue teams will be back along the shores today, surveying the areas most dangerous to dolphins. They will be joined by colleagues from the New England and Virginia Aquariums, according to Branon.

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