On Saturday, a rescue team was called to Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod to help five pilot whales. The International Fund for Animal Welfare worked with US Fish and Wildlife and harbormasters officials to rescue the mammals. In their efforts, they were able to help four of the five whales go back into deeper water. Sadly, the fifth pilot whale died.
On Sunday, another pilot whale was stuck at the harbor. Due to its injuries, the pilot whale had to be put down. At least two of the three surviving dolphins are free. The third surviving dolphin is still being monitored since it swims around the harbor.
While Cape Cod is known for many things, it is also known for most dolphin stranding. In 2019 alone, there were over 400 dolphin strandings around Cape Cod. According to one of the rescue team members, Brian Sharp, the strandings have to do with the peninsula’s geography. Storms affect the coastlines and make them accessible to mammals. Once the water subdues, the animals get stranded in the shallow waters and die.
Sharp also hopes that he and his team won’t be seeing too many of these strandings, but they are inevitable. It’s incredibly difficult to get to these mammals at times and it is heartbreaking when they have to put them down.
If you see any pilot whales, other dolphins or marine life stranded on the beach, please call the experts for help. Never approach the animals alone as they could be weak, sick, or confused and lash out. Make sure to save your local Entanglement Reporting Hotline number in your contacts or call the local Coast Guards.