(ANIMAL RESCUE) MASSACHUSETTS — As reported earlier this week, a large population of dolphins stranding themselves within the crevice harbors of Cape Cod. Today, however, there was only good news to be shared as an animal welfare group reported helping 300 dolphins make their way back to the ocean. Read more below on the remarkable rescue. — Global Animal
One of many dolphins stranded across Cape Cod’s shores. Photo credit: David Curran

Boston.com, Colin A. Young

An animal welfare group said today they helped about 300 dolphins swim out of Wellfleet harbor, where they may have been in danger of stranding themselves. The group said six dolphins did strand themselves this afternoon, and the group is now treating four of them. One dolphin died shortly after stranding itself and another remains inaccessible.

“Fortunately, with a lot of help from the harbor master, we were able to herd them out of the harbor,” Michael Booth, communications officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said.

Booth said the group used underwater sonic devices and boats to direct the pod of dolphins out of the harbor. Booth described the process as similar to herding cattle.

The four dolphins the group was able to rescue were taken to the group’s trailer, where five staff members and 20 volunteers will evaluate the health of the sea mammals.

“We run a lot of tests,” Booth said. “We draw blood from these dolphins, we do an auditory examination to make sure their hearing is fine, take measurements … we note down everything.”

Booth said the group typically performs the tests en route to Herring Cove in Provincetown, where the group will release the dolphins into the ocean side, rather than the bay side, of Cape Cod.

Along with areas in New Zealand and Australia, Cape Cod is one of the top three stranding locations in the world, according to the group’s statement. The group said mass strandings often occur between January and April.

“No one knows for sure why animals strand, but mass strandings of whales and dolphins have happened on Cape Cod for hundreds of years,” said Katie Moore, the group’s marine mammal rescue and research manager, in a statement. “The topography of the Cape is likely a factor, with its hook-like shape, gently sloping beaches and extensive sand and mud flats.”

More Boston.com: http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2012/01/six-dolphins-risk-stranding-wellfleet/hzAvNzSAIvezph5cDHKZbK/index.html

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