Dolphin strandings continue on Cape Cod
BREWSTER, Mass. -- More than 175 dolphins have beached themselves on a shallow spot near Wellfleet, many of them dying. Experts are doing everything they can to figure out why it's happening.
Winter's light reveals Cape Cod’s stark shoreline, and a perplexing phenomenon: strandings of common dolphins. The majestic creatures are a beloved part of the seascape. They have come to shore in record numbers; 177 and counting, the vast majority dead.
Katie Moore of the International Fund for Animal Welfare leads the team identifying, cataloguing, and in 53 cases, rescuing and releasing the dolphins.
Along a 35-mile stretch of the Cape's interior coastline from Barnstable to Wellfleet, the hook shape of the peninsula traps the dolphins in Cape Cod Bay.
“Once they're in the bay they can't always find their way out and we think that's a big part of it,” said Moore.
The rise and fall of the tide is dramatic; a difference of 13 feet in some areas.
This winter, when the tide goes out, trouble comes in.
Researchers measure, take samples, and tag each and every dolphin; hoping science can decode the mystery.
There are many theories: the warm winter is one. Wellfleet harbormaster Mike Flanagan has bigger worries.
“It makes you wonder if there is something terribly wrong with the environment,” Flanagan said.
Experts say it is critical to find out what is causing so many dolphin strandings. They say it will give them a glimpse into the health of the ecosystem as a whole.
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