Rescue team’s Katie Moore to brief Congress in wake of unprecedented dolphin strandings
This has been an exceptional stranding season for us - having already responded to 102 dolphins since January 12th . The first day of February brought even more dolphins to Cape Cod's shores. Yesterday morning we got a call reporting that 6 dolphins were about to strand in the bay in Brewster.
When we arrived at the beach about a half hour later, we found the 6 lying on a sand bank about three quarters of a mile from the beach and 3 more trapped in very shallow water bringing the total number of dolphins needing rescue to 9. With the help of trained volunteers, we extricated the dolphins from the sand flats and safely transferred them from the beach to our rescue trailers where we checked the health of the animals to see if we would be able to attempt release.
All nine animals looked good and we made a plan to release them out to open waters on the outer Cape. Based on the winds and tides, we decided that Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro would be the ideal location to give these animals the best chance of survival. At about 6:15 pm, we were finally able to get all of these wayward dolphins back in the water where they belong. We satellite tagged one of the animals and it seems to be moving very well. The tag transmitted at 8:47 am today and was 10 miles off shore on the Wellfleet/Truro border on the ocean side.
This tells us that it swam straight off the beach after release, which is a very good sign. Yesterday's stranding brings the total to 111 Common dolphins that have stranded since January 12th with 30 of those being successfully released due to the tireless efforts of the entire International Fund for Animal Welfare Marine Mammal Rescue and Research staff and volunteers.
This has been the largest stranding of a single species on record in the Northeast Region of the U.S., as such, I’m heading down to Washington D.C. right now to testify before the US House Natural Resources Sub-committee to both brief them on what we know and also to ask for help.