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Dolphin Stranding

October 21, 2016

Rescue volunteers respond to a stranded dolphin on Cape Cod.



Volunteers and staff from IFAW, led by program manager Brian Sharp, transport a rescued dolphin from the shallow marsh where it was stranded to the IFAW transport vehicle. (Bob Hirshon)

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Atlantic white sided dolphins normally live in deep water. But this individual was one of 17 members of the species that was stranded in shallow marshes near Wellfleet, MA in late September. (Bob Hirshon)


Dolphins in distress. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

While interviewing a National Park biologist on Cape Cod, we saw a dolphin trapped in a nearby salt marsh. Soon, a rescue team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, or IFAW, was on the scene, led by program manager Brian Sharp.

BRIAN SHARP (International Fund for Animal Welfare ):

So what we try do is we to respond to them. We have a transport trailer that acts as our mobile veterinary unit and then we can transport the animals to deep water, to a north part of the seashore.


He and his team maneuvered the 250-pound Atlantic white-sided dolphin onto a stretcher, and wheeled it to their trailer and outfitted it with a radio transmitter. Dolphin strandings are frequent here, and no one knows why. The data that this and other dolphins relay back could help scientists understand what’s causing the animals to swim ashore, and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.


Rescuers transported the dolphin to Herring Cove, on Race Point, near the tip of Cape Cod. Like the other dolphins rescued during the same mass stranding, it swam back into deep water and stayed there. (Bob Hirshon)

Story by Bob Hirshon