A full 30 days of stranding dolphins brings the count to 163
Well, Saturday marked one month since we began responding on 12 January, 2012.
We've found two more dead common dolphins since my last post, bringing our total to 163 dolphins stranded during this event.
UPDATED #'s as of 2.17.12
- Total stranded: 179
- Found dead: 108
- Found alive: 71
- of the 71 animals found alive:
- 53 were successfully released (75%)
Yesterday we had a young Atlantic white sided dolphin strand alive in Wellfleet. The female appeared to be a calf, probably over a year old. She must have come in on the high tide at about 2:00am - she was as high as she could get on the beach, wedged up against the bulkhead.
Our early morning crew must not have been able to see her from above. This young dolphin was emaciated - so thin it was obvious she has been deteriorating for quite a while. She appeared dehydrated, her skin was peeling and cracking.
We worked with our volunteers and colleagues from the Riverhead foundation in New York to extract her from the beach. We placed her on a soft foam mat to make her more comfortable while we did a quick exam.
Her poor condition was obvious - very low breathing rate, emaciated, unresponsive. She was dying. The most humane thing we could do was to humanely euthanize her. We put her to sleep the same way a vet would do for a beloved pet. She went very quietly. Although it is always hard to put an animal down, we knew it was the kindest thing we could do for this young dolphin.
We are now back at our operations base. Volunteer teams will be here to re-deploy in 30 minutes. We will head out to monitor all of our usual stranding locations on the Outer Cape area for signs of animals stranded or swimming close to shore. Hopefully, today will be the first day in almost a month that we will not find any new dolphins in the area.
PS: Here's a WBUR Boston audioscape of from this weekend, click to visit the article page and the 'listen' button to listen.