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New Year, New Life: 10 Stranded Dolphins Rescued in Massachusetts

Jan 02, 2017 11:10 AM EST
Risso Dolphins
A team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare race against time to rescue and release 10 stranded dolphins in Wellfleet Harbor.
(Photo : Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The year 2017 began as a challenge for a team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare as they race against time to rescue and release 10 stranded dolphins in Wellfleet Harbor.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the non-profit animal welfare organization first received a call early in the morning about three dolphins swimming in the harbor. The organization quickly dispatched a team to the site. When the team reached the site about three hours later, the number of dolphins swimming in the harbor increased to 10. The rescuers also determined that the stranded dolphins are Risso dolphins based on the unusual white scars all over their skin.

Using two boats, the rescuers tried to herd the dolphins back to the open seas. However, the stubbornness of the marine mammal made it impossible for the rescuers, taking about several hours before the threat of the receding tide becomes imminent.

As the tide pulled back, the dolphins got stuck in a part of the harbor called Chipman's Cove. This made the rescuers go with a plan B, which needed to have "all-hands on deck". With the joint forces of 10 to 15 people, the rescuers fought through the mud and biting cold to help move the dolphins using stretchers and customized carts to nearby transport trucks.

"It was an amazing team effort over many, many hours on a blustery, cold winter day," said Kerry Branon, a spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, in a report from Boston Globe

"Everyone was doing everything they could to save those dolphins. ...I even saw a guy on the side of the road in Wellfleet, and he was standing there with a tray of hot cocoa. He had fresh mugs of cocoa that he made for everyone."

The rescued dolphins were transported and released to the Corn Hill Beach, near Truro. The IFAW team decided that the winds and tide in the Corn Hill Beach will help the dolphins make it out safely to the open seas.

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