Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dolphin Strandings Continue in Wellfleet

Those of you who live in the Boston area have probably heard about the numerous dolphin strandings on the Outer Cape over the past ten days. You may have even seen newscasts, showing Wellfleetians hard at work in an effort to save these marvelous sea creatures. My friend Tracy Plaut and her husband Swede volunteer for IFAW on a regular basis. The months of January and February bring the greatest need for this type of assistance. Volunteers make themselves available at a moment’s notice. They grab gear and head out, often in raw, inclement weather, for hours at a time. Last Thursday volunteers, along with our local harbormaster, were able to herd dolphins out of Wellfleet Harbor successfully. There have been so many strandings in our area of late that the IFAW trucks were parked in the Cove Corners parking lot when I drove by. No one knows why the marine mammals seem to get stuck in Cape Cod Bay. As the Boston Globe reports, the Outer Cape is one of the top three stranding locations IN THE WORLD. Often strandings take place at low tide. The animals are transported to the IFAW trailer for testing, treatment, and the occasional tracking device. Tracy headed up the trailer team last week when a particularly vigorous group of animals were brought in for testing. In her attempt to hold one down, Tracy bruised her ribs and side. She told me that a rather chubby dolphin was examined as well. When the team realized the dolphin was pregnant, they used ultra-sound equipment to peek at her babies. “It was so thrilling to see their flukes,” Tracy told me. Indeed! What an amazing experience.