International Fund for Animal Welfare Marine Mammal Rescue Manager Katie Moore and responder CT Harry report from the field...
Thanks everyone for following the story of our stranding yesterday. Sadly, it wasn't the best day for us. We arrived at Herring River in Wellfleet to find that the stranded cetacean had just passed away. We walked from our rescue vehicles into the marsh to find our volunteers huddling around a 4 foot long harbor porpoise.
The initial report came in as an Atlantic white-sided dolphin so we were surprised to find that it was actually our 64th porpoise of the season (12 stranded alive and 4 were healthy enough to be released). This is a high number of porpoise strandings, almost double our previous record of 34 porpoises in 2002. This stranding response was the 15th in just a week, including 4 other live cetaceans, three of which were successfully released.
The team has been extremely busy, but we are happy to say that we've been able to successfully release 18 stranded cetaceans this season. Nine of these were released with satellite tags which have provided invaluable data that we use to monitor the animals post-release and evaluate the accuracy of our health assessment protocols and medical treatments. Thanks again for all your support, for more information on IFAW's work to save marine mammals and other animals around the world, please visit www.ifaw.org today.
ORIGINAL POST: 4.5.11
At the moment I am blogging from our truck as we respond to ANOTHER live dolphin at the herring river in Wellfleet. Wish us luck. We are just arriving on scene. Hopefully I'll be able to share another release story this afternoon. Conditions are rough and promise to get worse as the storm front moves through.
Dolphins seem to be everywhere these days. The International Fund for Animal Welfare Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team has been so busy; we haven't even had time to share our stories with local folks.
Last Thursday two Atlantic White-sided dolphins stranded alive in Wellfleet, CT Harry and I had been attending the Red Cross Heroes breakfast where one of our treasured volunteers was being honored with an honorable mention as an Animal Hero for her work with us. This wonderful volunteer lives in Wellfleet, so we all met up again at the Herring River gut where we found two of the largest, heaviest white sided we had ever seen. Weighing in at almost 460 pounds each, the two dolphins were loaded into the rescue trailer where we did complete health assessments. Both animals were determined to be healthy enough for release. We transported them to Herring Cove in Provincetown and with the help of our wonderful volunteer we released them into the cold water.
I had hoped to spend Friday morning sharing that story with you in more detail, but we ended up back out in the field in Wellfleet. Another, thankfully smaller, white-sided dolphin stranded on Lieutenant Island. The gulls had attacked this animal before it was discovers, severely damaging the left eye and part of the blow hole. After a health assessment, blood work and careful consideration, we determined that the best course of action was humane euthanasia. The animal died quietly and peacefully and we were grateful that at least it was no longer suffering. A necropsy later revealed several internal pathologies as well, including a very heavy load of liver parasites.
Monday afternoon, April 4th, after having the day off, I got called into work at 4:30 pm to help respond to a live dolphin in Duck Creek in Wellfleet. Thankfully, it wasn't too far out into the black mud and we were able to remove the animal fairly quickly. Our local volunteers had responded in time to keep the gulls away. This young female dolphin was in terrific shape. We loaded her into the trailer at 6pm, did our health assessment and transported her to Head of the Meadow in Truro (the safest place for release given the prevailing winds). We affixed a satelliet tag and released her at 8pm...A remarkably fast turn around! Her latest track places her off Chatham, MA, doing well.
For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team visit http://www.ifaw.org