Why do dolphin beachings occur?
WELLFLEET, Mass. -- Experts say it's not unusual for dolphins to strand themselves during this time of the year.
The say it happens every year between January and March. Food is so scarce during the winter, forcing dolphins to find it wherever they can.
As a result, dolphins often chase food near the shore. When dolphins are too close to the shore, they can get stuck as the tide goes down.
"If there is not an intervention on the part of people, that means they will have to wait for the next high tide comes up... will be 12 hours later,” said Tony Lacasse of the New England Aquarium.
Experts, like Lacasse, say it's important for the animals to be helped quickly.
"Dolphins, because they're aquatic mammals unlike human beings, their rib structure does not protect all their internal organs, when they strand... their body weight is slowly compressing their vital organs," he said.
Cape Cod is among the top three places in the world where marine life becomes stranded. Experts say about half the time, the strandings occur in Wellfleet, because of how its shoreline is shaped.
If you see an animal stranded on Cape Cod, contact the Cape Cod Stranding Network at 508-743-9548 or local authorities.
(Copyright (c) 2010 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)