Sunday, January 14, 2007

Two out of three stranded dolphins survive their ordeal

Another dolphin death occurred in Wellfleet on Tuesday after the marine mammal became stranded in the waters off Chequessett Neck Road.

Witnesses say that several dolphins appeared on the beach around 8:15 a.m.

The Cape Code Stranding Network says that three of the animals were successfully saved and sent back out to sea in Truro. However, they did have to euthanize one other dolphin.

"We had two animals that did really, really well initially in the water, and one that took a wave as we let it go," said Katie Touhey, of the Cape Cod Stranding Network. "We do them all at the same time. One had a little bit of a rocky start, but then seemed to be swimming quite well. So, hopefully they'll stick together, and they'll be alright out there."Later, workers rushed back out to Wellfleet to rescue another trio of dolphins that was stranded.

Last week, dolphins also washed up along Skaket Beach. Dolphin strandings have recently occurred on Cape Cod from beaches in Barnstable to Wellfleet. This January so far, a total of 31 dolphin strandings have been reported. Animal rescuers are doing everything they can to save the dolphins. However, with the recent strandings, it is difficult not to think back to last year.

In the first few weeks of 2006, there were 100 dolphin strandings on the Cape -- half of the annual average.

"It's January, and if anyone remembers back to last January, we were extraordinarily busy with dolphin strandings here on the Cape," Touhey said. According to the Cape Cod Stranding Network, where one of these animals is seen, there are typically others nearby.

"These animals are very socially cohesive," Touhey said. "They stick to large groups in the wild, which is great if you are hunting or evading large predators. But when one of them comes ashore, because of that group mentality, they tend to stick together."

The Cape Cod Stranding Network asks that anyone who comes across a stranded animal contact them. They can be reached at 508-743-9548.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"