On Wednesday, the IFAW had four pilot whales euthanized on Cape Cod beach. Six pilot whales were first spotted on Monday swimming close to the shore. By Tuesday morning, all six pilot whales were stranded in Eastham by Sunken Meadow beach. Heather Pilchard, a volunteer looking on the shore for cold-stunned sea turtles, found the pilot whales stranded on the beach. She called the IFAW and sent them a picture to confirm the whales. Once they arrived, the calf pilot whale did not make it, leaving them only five whales to rescue.
By Tuesday afternoon, the crew from International Fund for Animal Welfare waited for high tide to move the mammals back to the water. They used a flattened pontoon under one whale to lift it and move to the water. Straps were used for the other whales to pull them back into the water. By four, five of the pilot whales were returned to the water. The team watched as only one whale swam away, and four came back towards the shore. This time the pilot whales were stranded near Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.On Wednesday, the team evaluated their injuries and were forced to have the four pilot whales euthanized. They were in a weak state, and their health was declining fast. IFAW said It’s the most humane decision to make in a circumstance like this.” The fifth whale was not with them but could also be stranded again somewhere else.
The animal welfare organization also said that pilot whales are not considered endangered. This makes the failed rescue attempt sting less. Pilot whales are known for their stranding because they are close-knit and can follow a sick whale to the shore. Pilot whales are mammals and have lungs to breathe air. Dolphins and small whales can live out of the water for hours if given the proper care and hydration on time.