Dolphin Lifesavers — Heroes at Work

IFAW rescuers pull dolphin from mud, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from "IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue & Research," IFAW.org

IFAW rescuers pull dolphin from mud, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

Katie Moore, manager of Marine Mammal Rescue and Research for the International Fund for Animals (IFAW) posted a message on the Feb 24 edition of a marine-mammal news digest called MARMAM updating subscribers on “the protracted mass stranding event of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) along the shores of Cape Cod, MA USA.” Many people had no doubt already seen news coverage of the event, Moore wrote. “We wanted to provide you with information directly from the lead response team.”

Moore’s main points: After 36 days — Jan 12 to Feb 16, 2012 — the strandings finally seem to have ceased. During that time, 179 dolphins stranded in the tidal mud flats along Cape Cod’s crooked-arm, inner shores. Of that total, 108 dolphins were found dead, 71 were found alive, 53 were rescued and released, the rest didn’t make it— and researchers still don’t know why it happened.

Here’s something else most people probably don’t know: what it took for IFAW’s staff and trained volunteers to save the 53 dolphins they did rescue — what grueling, exhausting, cold-wet-dirty work went into reaching, treating, transporting and releasing Every. Single. One.

Team member slips and falls while hauling dolphin out of mud, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from "IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue & Research," IFAW.org

Team member slips and falls while hauling dolphin out of mud, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

See for yourself. It’s all here in the following three short IFAW video reports. The first, starting at about 48 seconds in, provides an initial close-hand look at some of what these humans undertook and endured to try to help these dolphins. No fun, that’s for sure. To watch this 4:30 video, click the image below:

IFAW rescuers improvise plank to reach dolphin trapped in mud, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from "IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue & Research," IFAW.org, vimeo.com

IFAW rescuers improvise plank to reach dolphin trapped in mud, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

The second video conveys a more intimate sense of what this experience was like for these dolphins. Look into their eyes, listen to their breathing and see if you aren’t near tears by the end. To watch this 3:50 video, click the image below:

Stranded dolphins on rescue tarps, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from "Dolphin Mass Stranding, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb, 2012," IFAW.org, vimeo.com

Stranded dolphins on rescue tarps, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

The third video offers the fullest sense of what this experience was like for both species: one ocean-going, one land-dwelling; both big-brained, intelligent, self-aware, family-oriented, socially sophisticated, air-breathing mammals — so different and yet so alike in so many ways. To watch this 5:22 video, click the image below:

Rescuers transfer dolphin onto cart for next phase of journey back to sea, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012/Image from "IFAW Dolphin Release, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012," IFAW.org, vimeo.com

Rescuers transfer dolphin onto cart for next phase of journey back to sea, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012/IFAW.org

Each video offers something the others don’t. Together, they’re extremely powerful. What can anyone who cares about dolphins say after watching them except:

Thank you, IFAW staff and volunteers. Bless you….

IFAW rescue worker with injured dolphin, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from "IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue & Research," IFAW.org

IFAW rescue worker with injured dolphin, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

Rescuers transport mother and calf to beach on next phase of journey back to the sea, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from "Dolphin Mass Stranding, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012," IFAW.org

Rescuers transport mother and calf to beach on next phase of journey back to the sea, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

Rescuers lift dolphins off air mattresses on beach for last phase of journey back to the sea, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012/Image from "IFAW Dolphin Release, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012, IFAW.org

Rescuers prepare to carry dolphins back into the water, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012/IFAW.org

Rescuers carry dolphins past surf in final phase of journey back to the sea, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from "Dolphin Mass Stranding, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012,"  IFAW.org

Rescuers carry dolphins past surf in final phase of journey back to the sea, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

Rescuers release dolphins back into the sea, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012/Image from "IFAW Dolphin Release, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012," IFAW.org

Rescuers release dolphins back into the sea, Sagamore Beach, MA, Jan 14, 2012/IFAW.org

You give being human a good name.

Dolphin lifts head from water to take a parting look at human rescuers, Cape Cod MA, Jan-Feb 2012/Image from  "Dolphin Mass Stranding, Cape Cod, MA, Jan-Feb, 2012," IFAW.org

Dolphin lifts head from water to take a parting look at human rescuers, Cape Cod MA, Jan-Feb 2012/IFAW.org

• To learn more about IFAW, click here.

• To learn more about IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research group, click here.

• To read more news reports about the stranding and sign up to train as an IFAW MMRR volunteer, click here.

• To see more moving photos of the humans and dolphins who were brought together during this event, click here.

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This entry was posted in Dolphins & Whales, Heroes & Heroines, Rare Encounters and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Dolphin Lifesavers — Heroes at Work

  1. Annette says:

    I did look into their eyes. Makes me want to cry. I just fall in love.

    Annette

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