cape cod

More than 100 Dolphins Beached in Cape Cod

Posted Tue, Feb 7, 2012 by Rachael Prokop to cape cod, dolphins, mass strandings, massachusetts

common dolphin

© Oceana/Jesus Renedo

More than 100 dolphins have beached themselves in Cape Cod, Massachusetts this winter, and no one knows why.

In the northeastern United States, it’s normal for about 230 animals to beach themselves over the course of a year. But this year, 129 common dolphins have been found on Cape Cod beaches in the past month.

Examinations of the dolphins haven’t found any sign of illness or injury, adding to the mystery. Beaching or “stranding” happens when an animal gets trapped in shallow water and can’t swim back out to the ocean. This can be caused by disorientation from an unfamiliar landscape, loud noises, illness, or more. Because dolphins form strong bonds, they may follow each other and become stranded in groups.

One factor in Cape Cod might be an unseasonably warm winter, which kept the harbor free from ice and open to wandering dolphins. Combined with the geography of the Cape Cod harbor area—much shallower and confined than the open ocean—and dolphins’ habits of sticking close to their family members, these dolphins could easily find themselves in trouble.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has been working to save the stranded dolphins and discover the cause of the mass stranding. To date they have been able to release 37 of the stranded dolphins back into the water.

Mass strandings are mysterious events. We may never know the cause, but we hope it comes to an end soon.


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Rehabbed Sea Turtles Released in Chesapeake Bay

Posted Mon, Aug 15, 2011 by Emily Fisher to baltimore, cape cod, chesapeake bay, kemp's ridley sea turtle, National Aquarium, sea turtles

kemp's ridley sea turtle

Oceana the sea turtle, an endangered Kemp's ridley. © National Aquarium

Last Friday the National Aquarium and Oceana released three endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Chesapeake Bay at Maryland's Point Lookout State Park. The turtles came to the National Aquarium this winter from the New England Aquarium, after they were found stranded along Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Kemp’s ridleys are the most endangered and smallest of all sea turtle species, making them particularly vulnerable to severe changes in water temperature. These turtles suffered from cold stunning - the sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia. After months of long-term rehabilitation by the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP), the turtles, named Oceana, Prancer and Vixen, were released back into the wild.

Sea turtles commonly feed on an assortment of jellies and invertebrates in the Chesapeake Bay during warm summer months, which is why Aquarium officials chose this date and location for the release. These turtles are expected to stay in the mid-Atlantic region or head north for the remainder of the summer, before eventually heading south again in the fall.

Oceana the sea turtle sported a small satellite transmitter that will track its location and speed for several months, helping researchers learn more about sea turtle migration and travel patterns. You can follow Oceana’s (and the other two turtles’) progress at the Aquarium’s website. Check out more photos from the release on Flickr!


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