Stranded dolphins tracked to Maine coast, suggesting success in rescue op
Dozens of dolphins began washing ashore near Cape Cod, Massaschusetts, on January 12.
January 27th, 2012
12:48 PM ET

Stranded dolphins tracked to Maine coast, suggesting success in rescue op

It's too early to call the rescue near Cape Cod a success, but it looks like there's good news for a fifth of the dolphins that began washing ashore on the Massachusetts coast earlier this month.

The majority of the dolphins rescued during the "mass strandings" have survived and appear to be tooling about off the coast of Maine, according to a news release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Rescuers put satellite tracking tags on six of the 24 animals that they have rescued and released since January 12, when rescuers began finding dozens of common and Atlantic white-sided dolphins along a 25-mile stretch of shoreline.

As many as 100 dolphins may have been stranded during the episode, 50 of which were dead when they were discovered, wrote IFAW senior program coordinator A.J. Cady earlier this week. Three of the dolphins with tracking tags died after being released.

"We're all exhausted, muddy and unsure what tomorrow will bring," Cady wrote Tuesday, "but rest assured, if more dolphins strand, we'll do everything in our power to rescue and release them into open ocean."

Experts are uncertain why so many dolphins washed ashore. Hypotheses include: They may have been caught in currents when they approached land to feed, a pod of dolphins may have stayed in the area to help a sick or injured dolphin or the topography of the Cape Cod coast may create areas that can trap dolphins.

You can watch an IFAW expert explain last week that this is a common occurrence between January and April and how rescuers go about saving the dolphins.


IFAW said that tracking data suggests most of the saved dolphins, some of which were released back into the water near Provincetown, were about 18 miles off the Maine coast Thursday, roughly 190 miles away. They "appear to be utilizing known offshore habitats for this species," the release said.

Brian Sharp, IFAW's stranding coordinator, said it was too costly to tag all the dolphins, "but by looking at the data from tagged animals we can hopefully get a picture of where the larger group may be headed."

"Right now, three satellite tags are still transmitting and signs for the remaining 21 dolphins are encouraging," he said in a statement Thursday.

IFAW experts said that while the data are good news, it's prudent to wait at least 21 days before deeming a rescue operation a success. The satellite tags are designed to drop off the animals after a few weeks.

One rescuer told CNN that this was only the second time in 15 years she had seen so many dolphins wash ashore in Cape Cod.

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Filed under: Animals • Fish • Maine • Massachusetts • Nature • U.S.
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Awwww, poor little Flippers...

    January 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO ©

    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    ....at least I have sympathy for the dolphins, something I notice your comment lacked.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shane

    From my entire life's experience,i have noticed that animals have more honesty and less cruelty than people.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    I volunteer at a no-kill animal shelter.
    I feed the animals that people like you throw away.
    And from your silly comments, you are just as cruel as the people that you are accusing.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Shane

    Whenever I have had a pet since childhood,neither me or my family have "thrown" a single one away. Please dont assume such an ugly thing about a stranger. People that do that should not have pets. As I said,people are cruel,not animals. I cannot volunteer at a shelter. I give time to my wife, work, have three sons and have 2 cats and 2 dogs. All were either adopted or brought in as strays. And if I had the time I would not. How can you see a cat or a dog that you know will be put to sleep within days. I applaud you for your time to help the animals.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PETA

    Mmmmm Dolphin taste's like tuna.....

    January 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cara

    comments went from sympathy for pods of dolphins to the dangers of giving bread to birds... does this mean i have to teach my parrot to not say polly wants a croissant

    January 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. m

    I just think it's nice to have dedicated people out there who want to help wildlife resume normal activity whenever possible. They take time to focus on an organism in need that will never thank them or show any form of appreciation, yet they know that what the do means something significant to them and to those of us who love dolphins. In this big world we live in, there's people who could care less about glory or accolades. They just do what they know they want to do and what they feel needs to be done. Good people.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    Dolphins are nice and tight but I perfer tuna

    January 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    @Shane,so your wife was a stray and you found your children on the street?What about the pets? did your wife conceive them?

    January 29, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tanya

    This is so awful! Someone needs to do something to help these dolphins. Tanya Monique Glascoe

    January 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stephanie

    I think they were afraid; maybe something going on deep in the ocean ...a frightening sound, maybe an earthquake?

    January 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Since they are already on shore why don't they serve them in restaurants. I know I have always wanted to try dolphin 😀

    January 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fisherman

    Yes John. If they're still fresh they'd make good sushi. yummmmm

    January 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
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