Sunday, January 1st, 2017. WELLFLEET – A team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare raced against low tide Sunday to rescue and release 10 stranded dolphins from Wellfleet Harbor.
The Risso’s dolphins, identifiable as mature adults by the unusual white scars all over their skin, were first spotted by residents at 8 a.m. By 11 a.m., an IFAW team had arrived to begin trying to herd the dolphins out to sea.
Crews in two boats worked to turn the dolphins to deep water. But they appeared intent on stranding, said Kerry Branon, spokesperson for IFAW.
At about 3:30 p.m., the dolphins began to strand in the area of Chipman’s Cove, she added.
It takes about 10 people to move each creature from the mud into trucks for transport. At least 15 people battled the wind and cold to get the dolphins safely into the trucks, she said.
The dolphins were then taken to Corn Hill Beach in Truro for release.
Experts determined Corn Hill to be the best location to let them go, based on the tides, the wind and the water depth, Branon said.
This type of dolphin is not endangered. They can live anywhere from tropical to temperate zones, including off the coast of New England, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
“We’re hoping it’s a Happy New Year for them,” Branon said.
This winter has been about typical in terms of dolphin strandings, she said, with the past few days being particularly active.
About 16 dolphins stranded in Wellfleet in September. In November, four dolphins were rescued from Brewster and released, according to IFAW’s website.