Over 100 Stranded Dolphins Rescued Off Massachusetts Coast

July 3, 2024

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) recently responded to its largest single mass stranding event in 26 years on Cape Cod.

Early Friday morning, IFAW received reports of 10 Atlantic white-sided dolphins stranded in shallow mud flats off Wellfleet. However, upon arrival, responders discovered a staggering 125 dolphins in distress, marking the largest mass stranding event IFAW has faced in decades.

100 dolphins rescued mass stranded
Credit: Don Yovicsin

The IFAW team, comprising 25 staff members, 100 trained volunteers, and additional support from AmeriCorps of Cape Cod, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the New England Aquarium, the Center for Coastal Studies, and the Wellfleet Harbormaster, launched an all-out rescue mission.

"We arrived to what appeared to be 80 to 100 dolphins on the shallow mud flats," said Misty Niemeyer, IFAW’s stranding coordinator. "We were able to provide supportive care, help those that were struggling, and keep them comfortable and ready for the incoming tide."

The rescue effort lasted 12 hours under the relentless sun.

IFAW stated that by sunset on Friday, most of the dolphins had returned to deeper water. On Saturday, June 29, only 10 dolphins remained in the shallow water, and they made their way out of the area later that day.

"It was a 12-hour exhausting response in the unrelenting sun, but the team was able to overcome the various challenges and give the dolphins their best chance at survival," Niemeyer said in a statement.

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