Animal rescuers save more than 100 dolphins during mass stranding event around Cape Cod

On July 1, 2024, a significant number of Atlantic white-sided dolphins found themselves stranded in shallow waters around Cape Cod. Approximately 125 dolphins became stranded, and unfortunately, an estimated 13 dolphins died, with one needing to be euthanized. This incident marked the largest mass-stranding event dealt with by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in the Cape area during its 26-year history.

The exact reason for the dolphins’ stranding remains unknown, but Cape Cod is renowned as a global hotspot for strandings due to the curvature of its shores and the irregularity of its tides.

Rescue teams in Massachusetts managed to save more than 100 dolphins over the weekend. One group of 10 dolphins was found swimming in a shallow area at dawn on Saturday, and rescuers were able to herd them into deeper water. Another group of 25 dolphins was discovered near Eastham, and teams worked diligently to guide them away as the tide receded throughout the morning.

Tragically, ten dolphins died during a stranding incident on Friday at The Gut — or Great Island — in Wellfleet, a location known for frequent strandings due to its hook-like shape and extreme tidal fluctuations.

The rescue operation was challenging, with rescuers encountering difficult mud conditions and the dolphins being spread out over a vast area. However, the dedicated team, which included over 25 IFAW staff and 100 trained volunteers, was able to overcome these challenges and provide the dolphins with their best chance at survival. The rescue effort also received support from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the Center for Coastal Studies, AmeriCorps of Cape Cod, and the New England Aquarium.

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