More dolphins strand themselves on Cape Cod
WELLFLEET, Mass. -- Several more dolphins were found stranded Sunday on Cape Cod. In the past month, dozens of dolphins have been found on the beach and it’s a mystery why they’re swimming so dangerously close to shore.
On Sunday, one dolphin scientists found was pregnant and had some bruising but was otherwise okay.
Marine Biologist C.T. Harry is with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a group responding with volunteers. They’ve helped more than 100 strandings in the last three weeks, that’s usually what his team sees in an entire year.
“This just really made the response effort very difficult and just really left us confused about what’s going on,” said Harry.
Harry said the fact that Cape Cod is shaped like a hook makes it a hot spot for trapping dolphins and low tides can rapidly beach them but it does not explain so many at one time. Weather and possible pollutants are being looked at and also the dolphin’s social nature.
“They have a very tight knit social structure, so if one animal is ill or a small group of animals get lost in a larger group, they’ll tend to follow that animal basically to an area where they’re not supposed to be,” said Harry.
More than 80 dolphins have died. Of the ones that survived, scientists have tested their health, screened their blood and tested their hearing. Generally, the dolphins are said to be in good health, giving very few clues.
Some dolphins are being followed with tracking devices once they’re released back into the ocean. Brian Sharp is keeping tabs on transmissions emitted by those devices.
“We’re absolutely happy by what we are seeing. Animals in deep water, that’s exactly what we want to see and the fact that animals were released several weeks ago are heading that direction, that’s an excellent sign,” said Sharp.
Beached dolphins can survive several hours on land and in that time, scientists can collect information to help figure out what causes the strandings.
(Copyright (c) 2012 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)