UPDATE: Strandings continue through the weekend; tell Congress to re-instate funding

IFAW MMRR volunteers care three dolphins while they await release back into the sea during a recent mass stranding event.The mass stranding event of common dolphins in Cape Cod that started in January 12, 2012 officially ended on February 16th with a total of 179 stranded dolphins.

Total: 179*
Found dead: 108
Found alive: 71 (53 successfully released)

*Since no new dolphin strandings were reported during seven full days after that date, the event is considered over.

Unfortunately, the incredibly busy stranding season we've had in 2012 is not done. On the 1st of March, six common dolphins stranded at Boat Meadow Landing in Eastham. Two dolphins died shortly after stranding and four were released off of Herring Cove Beach in Wellfleet.

On March 6th, three additional common dolphins stranded near the Chequessett Yacht Club in Wellfleet. Sadly, one of the dolphins was injured and had to be humanely euthanized. The two other dolphins were successfully released off of Herring Cove Beach once again.

On the 8th of March, another single-stranded common dolphin was rescued on Skaket Beach in Orleans. Although officially counted as 'one', an ultrasound quickly confirmed the team's suspicion that the dolphin was in the final stages of her pregnancy. Extra care was taken to perform health assessments and transport her to Scusset Beach in Sagamore for release that night.


On March 9 an individual dolphin stranded in Wellfleet and was promptly rescued satellite-tagged and released. 

On March 10, teams found 11 dolphins swimming and were able to herd all but one of them out of Wellfleet Bay. A lone animal stranded on Duck Creek. That dolphin was collected and transported by boat to Jeremy Point and released in close proximity to where the other 10 were headed.

The following day (March 11), two more common dolphins stranded in Wellfleet. The team extricated them and as they were being carted to the rescue trailer one of the animals died. The second dolphin was successfully released with a satellite tag off of Head of the Meadow in Truro and headed offshore.

A total of 195 common dolphins have stranded in calendar year 2012 which far exceeds the annual average of 38 common dolphin strandings in Cape Cod.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team is busy responding to these new strandings and analyzing the incredible amount of data gathered these last two months. 

For those asking how they can help other than donating, if you live in the US, take a moment to tell Congress to re-instate funding cut from the Prescott Grant program on which our teams heavily rely.

We will keep you posted as our efforts continue.


Comments: 13

6 years ago

Thanks for all your hard work. I thank all those who have helped these dolphins. I will for sure donate when I earn money. Thanks again!

6 years ago

Here in England I am very concerned with this situation and will give you as much backing as able. Please answar the question 'Why so many strandings?' Thank you for all IFAW team.

Michelle Atkins
6 years ago

That is a very alarming increase in strandings.

I hope IFAW's research team is able to quickly answer the question of "why" so that any solution can be implemented. It is unbelievable the increase in deaths and I hope there is an answer that can help prevent more loss.

6 years ago

I went on line to donate $25.00 to IFAW. I can have a company match, but don't know what address this donation over the net went to. Is it theI nternational Fund for Animal Welfare, Inc located in Yarmouth Port, MA.?? I sure want IFAW to get the extra $$, but need the right address. Thank you for all you work for the animals.

ed butler
6 years ago


Our address is: 290 Summer Street, Yarmouthport, MA 02675.  Thanks for your support!

6 years ago

Any news on the dolphin of this afternoon released at Herring Cove. (March9). it's such amazing work you all do. such sad news to hear when they're out of water. Distressed and helpless animals relying on help to survive. thank you all.

6 years ago

I am scrapping metal this weekend and donating our funds to the cause. It is the least we can do to help the dolphins and any animal in need. -Dolphin Insulation, Inc.

6 years ago

Thank you for all of your dedication and work. What are the current theories as to why this is happening? Such distressing news.

6 years ago

u guys r soo sweet

6 years ago

Was just out on Skaket Beach and saw another stranding. Weird happenings. It was injured on the underbelly and dorsal fin. I wonder if she made it...

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy