A mother and calf are taken to the beach by volunteers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare to be released back into Cape Cod Bay.
It’s been grueling work both for the dolphins and the volunteers who have been rescuing them day and night, but it’s been worth it. Those who survived the recent mass strandings on Cape Cod shores and have been rescued are now swimming about 18 miles off the coast of Maine, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Some of them have already traveled more than 190 miles, as you can see from this photo which plots the travels of three of the dolphins who were rescued. (They were all released from the tip of the bay, and you can see how a combination of geography and bad weather could be confusing the animals and leaving them stranded on beaches.)
All the same, the rescuers say they have to wait a couple more weeks before they can consider this release effort a success.
“We can’t afford to satellite tag all of the dolphins that are released,” said Brian Sharp, Stranding Coordinator for the IFAW, “but by looking at the data from tagged animals, we can hopefully get a picture of where the larger group may be headed.”
This year, an unusually high number of dolphins have washed up on Cape Cod shores. This region of the coast is always tricky for dolphins to navigate, but nobody is quite sure why it’s been exceptionally difficult for the dolphins this year.