Multiple dolphins were rescued Sunday after they became stranded in shallow water on Cape Cod.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said it received a report just after the 8:12 a.m. high tide of 16 large common dolphins circling close to shore off Wellfleet Harbor, near the mouth of Duck Creek in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
According to the IFAW, the area within Wellfleet’s inner harbor is a world recognized hotspot for mass stranding events, due to its "severe tidal fluctuations and the shallow flats that form a distinctive ‘hook within a hook’ thanks to Cape Cod’s unique geography."
Staff and volunteers quickly responded before the dolphins were in further trouble, according to Nicole Hunter, IFAW's assistant coordinator to the marine mammal rescue team, but high winds prevented a response by boat.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
Eight of the dolphins eventually stranded around 10:45 a.m. as the tide quickly receded.
The dolphins were extracted and transported in IFAW's mobile dolphin rescue unit to deeper waters off West Dennis, the nonprofit said.
“We were able to give the dolphins treatment and supportive care to counter the effects of trauma of what probably feels like a car accident to a stranded dolphin,” Hunter added.
The eight dolphins, two of which had temporary satellite tags, were released off West Dennis Beach by 4:00 p.m. but unfortunately the nonprofit encountered some difficulties and additional support was required to encourage the pod further away from shore.
Ultimately, one of the dolphins had to be euthanized due to its declining condition and to prevent further suffering, the IFAW said.