Article By Mary Ann Bragg (mbragg@capecodonline.com) – February 04, 2013

“YARMOUTHPORT — The number of marine mammals reported as stranded in January along the Cape Cod Bay shoreline is less than a tenth the count from the same time last year, according to International Fund for Animal Welfare Stranding Coordinator Brian Sharp. But that small number this year is no guarantee of the future.

“At any point, the season can change quickly,” Sharp said.

In 2012, the nonprofit organization responded to 375 marine mammal strandings, including a continuous mass stranding of common dolphins from Jan. 12 through Feb. 16. In the mass stranding event, 179 common dolphins stranded from Barnstable to Wellfleet. Of those 179, 53 were successfully released. The remaining 126 were found dead, died before or after release, or were euthanized.

In a typical year, IFAW responds to about 38 stranded common dolphins, spokesman Michael Booth said.

So far this year IFAW has responded to nine stranded marine mammals: two common dolphins, two harbor porpoises and five harbor seals, Sharp said. All were found dead.

Across the Northeast this year, reported dolphin events have been limited to one common dolphin in shallow water in the Gowanas Canal in New York, which died, and a handful of bottlenose dolphins reported in the Navesink River in New Jersey, whose status is currently not known, Maggie Mooney-Seus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service said Friday.”

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