Under wind and rain – IFAW rescues stranded dolphins
Posted by IFAW Communications Officer - Michael Booth
Three dolphins had been reported stranded along the marsh at the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellfleet and like so many times before everyone immediately burst into motion.
Like clockwork, the team of responders rushed to the warehouse area that houses all the necessary rescue equipment and transport trailers needed to rescue the large cetaceans. It seemed everyone had a phone permanently attached to their ear, getting more information from the field and calling up volunteers.
Within the hour we were there, facing the distressed dolphins. It was cold, it was raining heavily and we were knee-deep in mud but next to us were three Atlantic White-sided dolphins stranded but alive!
Moving them was no simple task, the largest male dolphin was close to 8 feet and carrying his large body on a stretcher through those mud flats required very heavy lifting and patience. Each step was hard-earned but eventually all 3 dolphins were placed inside the transport vehicle where a series of test were done to evaluate their health.
Blood was drawn, tags were being placed on their dorsal fin and there was even an ultrasound device capturing images from inside the dolphin’s organs looking for signs of damage and distress.
It was late in the afternoon when we arrived with the dolphins to Herring Cove. This safe release site is chosen largely because the rescued animals have a clear shot at the open ocean, which dramatically reduces the chances of them ending up stranded again. That day, the ocean surf was far from calm but good enough to send these dolphins back on their way and back to their ocean home.
As they swam away, crowd and volunteers cheered. It was a great ending to a hard working day –a big thank you to IFAW supporters for making these rescues possible.