Sunday, 15 January 2012

Thirty dolphins stranded on Cape beaches

A team of about 35 people worked to rescue about 30 dolphins that were stranded on Cape beaches today.

The rescue teams included volunteers and workers from the New England Aquarium and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Rescuers were able to put 11 of the dolphins back into the water. Eight of the dolphins were stranded in areas that were inaccessible to rescuers and about 10 dolphins died while stranded, according to Kerry Branon of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Six to eight rescuers loaded each stranded dolphin onto a specialized stretcher or cart with wheels made for rolling on sand, then released the dolphins into the water in groups, according to Branon.

“The dolphins were healthy enough that we could just release them,” Branon said. “They are social animals, so we released them in groups.”

Branon said it is too early to know if there is any weather-related pattern in the strandings, but she said oceanic animal strandings are actually common on the Cape between January and April.

“Cape Cod is one of the largest stranding hotspots in the world,” Branon said, emphasizing the beachy topography of the region. She said sometimes many dolphins become stranded together because they travel to shore in a group when one is injured.

Branon’s group runs tests on all of the dead dolphins to determine the causes of their deaths.

Anyone who spots a stranded animal can report it to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s 24-hour hotline 508-743-9548.

“Tomorrow we will go out and scour the beaches and go to the places that the inaccessible animals were last sighted, and do our best to rescue them,” Branon said.


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