Reinforcement Needed: Dolphin Strandings Day 27

The short video below was produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare team. One way to help the team effort is through the sharing of this document with concerned friends and family.

As you may have learned from media reports over the past few days, the unprecedented stranding of common dolphins on Cape Cod continues.

As our rescue and research team packs their gear for another foray onto the cold dark beaches at low tide, Katie asked me to share the entire team’s gratitude for the outpouring of support from individuals and the media interest, and to do what I can to help bring you up to date.

This mass stranding event began on January 12.

Today is the 27th consecutive day of dolphin stranding.

As of yesterday (Monday, February 6, 2012):

Total number of animals stranded – 132

Total number of live animals – 54

Total number released successfully – 37

The first priority of the team is always to rescue and release as many animals as possible.  But they also collect valuable data from each animal – health assessments are done on the stranded animals, identification tags are placed on the dolphins prior to release and we also perform necropsies on the deceased animals. All this data helps provide baseline data for a wide range of marine mammal research and helps improve stranding response success rates.

Unfortunately, it takes some time for results to be returned from many of the tests administered during this event. We need time to gather more data and analyze it before speculating on potential causes for this stranding event.

Last week, I shared the news that Katie Moore, who leads our Marine Mammal Rescue and Research (MMRR) team would be briefing Congress on the dolphin strandings.

Standing before Representatives William Keating and Ed Markey, key Congressional staffers and members of NOAA, Katie provided an update on the strandings, showed heart-tugging photos and video, and explained the type of data we are gathering.

The rescue and research process for these mass strandings is a difficult and expensive endeavor. Although much of our rescue efforts are funded by contributions from individual donors, we also receive significant funding from the John H. Prescott Stranding Grant Program, a federal grant program is in danger of being cut from the budget. As Katie told the Cape Cod Times, “It's a little-known program, so it might seem easy to get rid of to those that don't know the value of it."

As we have mentioned before, strandings during this time of year are not unusual on the shores of the Cape. Strandings of this magnitude during this period of time are unprecedented. In the past 26 days alone, the number of stranded dolphins has already surpassed the average number of strandings in 12 months, which means we’ve used more of the allotted funding than anticipated.

I’m very proud of Katie and our team of rescuers, researchers and scientists who have been working around the clock to help these dolphins and we are extremely grateful to our generous supporters who are essential to keeping this team in the field for as long as the strandings continue.

If you’d like to help, consider making a donation in support of this amazing team's efforts.

Thank you.


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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
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