After a memorable release in Florida for a pregnant manatee rescued off Cape Cod in unfamiliar waters and a trio of seal disentanglements that is proving our new darting technique to be quite successful, our marine mammal rescue team responded to a group stranding of dolphins on Cape Cod shores.
It started when an early morning call came into our hotline that five common dolphins were stranded on the Brewster mud flats not far from our global headquarters in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.
One of the dolphins was unfortunately already dead. It had a significant deformity to its spine, indicating that it had a previous condition that likely contributed to or caused the stranding.
Fortunately, the other four appeared to be in good condition.
With the tide beginning to turn and dolphins starting to refloat, our volunteer responders supported them until our team arrived on scene. With the knowledge that dolphins that stranded on these flats previously have re-stranded if released from the same site, our team made the decision to place them in our specialized dolphin stretchers and float the animals the half-mile back to shore.
Each dolphin was then loaded onto our dolphin cart and moved to our dolphin rescue trailer where they were all clinically assessed and received medical treatments and supportive care to combat the effects of the stranding.
All four were deemed healthy enough for release, and identification tags were affixed to their dorsal fins. One dolphin was also affixed with a satellite tag to facilitate post-release monitoring. We made the short ride across the peninsula to West Dennis Beach, a beach we often use for dolphin releases since it faces the open water of Nantucket Sound and gives the animals access to deep water quickly.
We assembled teams and moved the dolphins to foam pads on the beach for staging. Two by two the dolphins were then carried into waist deep water. Once all were in the water and had some time to acclimate, the four were released together.
The dolphins quickly regrouped with one another and after a short-time of swimming along the shoreline, they headed out to deeper water. The track of the satellite tagged animal showed at one point that the group was miles off of the ocean-facing town of Orleans.
We are grateful to have had the opportunity to help so many marine animals in such a short period of time and hopeful that they all fare well after being given a second chance at life.
Article source: IFAW