Dolphins Continue to Strand on Cape Cod

Hi all,

In response to the many questions regarding the continuous dolphin strandings on Cape Cod Massachusetts, USA (specifics for our foreign followers), below is a glimpse into the efforts. While there are too many questions to address in one or two blogs, we will report on the past and current efforts and then go back and discuss potential causes later.

Important to understand is that all marine mammal responses are carried out by authorized agencies under the direction of the National Marine Fisheries Services (NOAA). The US coastlines are divided by NOAA and each responding organization has to meet high standards of training and expertise to obtain a NOAA response permit. All marine mammals on the mainland Cape Cod fall within the response region of The International Fund for Animal Welfare. During large scale and prolonged events, such as these dolphin strandings, we are often called in to provide additional resources. In this case several organizations have sent responders to support the efforts by IFAW. Below are some pictures of one of the response days I attended.

With dolphins stranding daily, the IFAW biologists are in constant response mode. They have multiple response teams set up for each day. Volunteers are scheduled to search specific beaches and bays and report back their findings.

In the photo below on the left Katie Moore (in black), director of the IFAW rescue team gives instructions to an IFAW volunteer. In the photo on the right Katie Moore and IFAW rescue coordinator, Brian Sharp, review the rescue plan for the day. The importance of a warm dry meeting place with restroom facilities is crucial. The owners of the Dunkin Donuts on State Hwy in Wellfleet have been kind enough to allow us to use their store as a command center.

In the photo below several network members review the response plan in the command center. In front from left is Julika and Kim from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation(RFMRP) in New York, Lynda Doughty, executive director of Marine Mammals of Maine, and Dr. Charlie Innis from the New England Aquarium.

IFAW volunteers as they dispatch to their respective beaches. These are a great group of dedicated volunteers, it was a pleasure working with them!

Responders need to be ready at a moments notice for a live or dead animal call.
In the photos below biologists from Maine and New York prepare to dispatch into the field.

In the photo below Brian Sharp from IFAW pulls a specially designed dolphin cart to the location of a recent live dolphin sighting.

The photo on the left shows IFAW, and NEAq responders stationed around a bay where a dolphin was sighted swimming in shallow water. The center photo shows the IFAW response trailer, the NEAq ambulance, the RFMRP truck parked at the stranding site. The last photo shows the NEAq 4x4 and two responders at the same site.

Below is a close up view of one of IFAW's specialized dolphin carts. The large inflatable tires allow them to pull a heavy dolphin across a marsh or mud with little impact on the habitat. On top of the cart is a large piece of foam, an NEAq triage backpack and an IFAW dolphin stretcher.

This view caught my attention as it was stunning. In the photo below an IFAW volunteer is spotting on bridge for more dolphins in the bay.

This blog doesn't begin to cover the magnitude of the event, the duration of response and the ongoing efforts. While other responders have been circulating through to help, the majority of the response has been the responsibility of the IFAW team. Their staff and volunteers are doing a amazing job with this effort.

It is difficult to capture images during this events as we are very busy and in the elements. We will be sharing the photos and our experiences over the next few days/weeks as best we can. If we are slow in responding to your questions, please understand that we will likely be in the field a lot over the next few weeks.

- Connie

Learn about past dolphin strandings that the Aquarium's Rescue Team has been involved with here.

1 comment:

  1. hey i love dolphins and there my most favorite animals ever and i didn't know if you guys had any dolphin shirts,blankets,sheets for bed,or pillow cases and i didn't know if i could havea carving of a dolphin like in dolphin tale?