Ten dolphins have been released back into the wild after a seven-hour rescue

(Cape Cod, Massachusetts – April 24, 2024) – Ten dolphins were released back into the wild today after a nearly seven-hour stranding in the global stranding hotspot. The dolphins were rescued in a highly coordinated response at two mass stranding sites and released into deeper waters, thanks to experts in the area.

IFAW staff and volunteers received the first report of eleven Atlantic white-sided dolphins close to the coast of Wellfleet late Tuesday afternoon, three hours before low tide.

Eight dolphins were found in Duck Creek, near Wellfleet Town Pier. Three were found in a section of the Herring River known locally as ‘The Gut’, a frequent stranding site due to its shallow slopes, hook-like shape and extreme tidal fluctuations. Both have incredibly tough conditions for rescues.

“This rescue presented many challenges due to the large number of dolphins, the difficult mud conditions and the fact that we were dealing with two simultaneous mass strandings,” said Lauren Cooley IFAW Stranding Biologist. “The team was able to overcome all these challenges to give these dolphins their best chance of survival.”

Six of the dolphins were transported at IFAW’s mobile dolphin rescue clinic to a deeper water location near Provincetown, Massachusetts. This unique vehicle was custom designed to meet the needs of what is considered a global stranding hotspot on Cape Cod. The vehicle allows IFAW veterinarians and experts to conduct health assessments and stabilize the dolphins while quickly reaching the best release site.

While one animal died at the scene due to trauma related to the event, the remaining dolphins were rescued from the challenging mud and transported in a separate response vehicle for release in Provincetown. All ten dolphins were released together.

“Although the dolphins suffered from stress as a result of the stranding, we are very optimistic and hopeful for their return to deeper waters,” Cooley added.

The entire effort involved approximately 45 people, including 15 AmeriCorps members and IFAW staff and volunteers.


Photo editors: High resolution images available HERE (©IFAW)

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Aaron Teitelbaum
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