Animal rescuers and their vehicles gathered to coordinate responses.
On day one, IFAW was able to successfully herd 9 animals out of Wellfleet harbor using their inflatable boat while NEAq kept a sharp lookout in other areas for dolphins in the shallows. Luckily, no other animals were sighted that day.
Volunteer Casey Fredette scans the horizon looking for signs of live dolphins in Wellfleet harbor.
Day two started with two common dolphins just inside Wellfleet harbor. The Aquarium was on scene bright and early and got right into the action. Terry Rogers, an experienced field volunteer, was on site and was able to capture the image below.
While IFAW began to organize herding efforts, the Aquarium team headed off to other areas to try and spot additional live dolphins in the area. The conditions that day were quite blustery, and the swells and whitecaps made spotting live animals very difficult.
Inside the harbor, the two live dolphins were not responding to the herding efforts and shortly after, the decision was made to collect the two from the water and attempt a transport. Unfortunately, one of the animals was worse off than the other and expired within minutes after being collected from the water. Our efforts were quickly focused on the remaining live dolphin and using a stretcher, it was loaded into the IFAW trailer for further health assessment and transport.
After collecting blood samples, and running further diagnostics, the animal was deemed fit for release and a satellite tag was applied to the dorsal fin. The animal was then transported and released from Head of the Meadow Beach, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The following day, the satellite track showed that the dolphin had moved a good distance off shore and was showing promising movements! It proved to be a long day, but successfully releasing that animal more than rewarded our efforts. Overall it was a great day, and a great experience!
Fortunately, our third day of response was much more relaxing. The sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day with calm waters, perfect for spotting live marine life!
The Aquarium team spent the majority of the day checking areas around Wellfleet harbor and revisited Lieutenant Island. If you remember from Kerry's last post, Lieutenant Island can be a tricky location, and if you don't keep an eye on the incoming tide, you are stuck! We made it off the island in time, but some of us managed to take a bit of the ocean with us!
Its been a few days since our last response and things have settled down a bit. There have been no new reports of live dolphins in the area so we're taking some time to regroup and get some needed rest. Thanks to everyone who helped out responding those days and for putting in some long days. With out the help of the volunteers, these efforts just wouldn't be possible so hats off to you all!
Until next time,
It's been a tiring and trying year for dolphin strandings on Cape Cod. Catch on Aquarium efforts to assist in dolphin rescues in previous posts here.