Local News

Two stranded dolphins rescued in one day on Cape Cod

An adult female Risso’s dolphin, estimated to be about 700 pounds, was rescued after being stranded in Truro on Cape Cod on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Courtesy of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Two stranded dolphins were rescued and successfully released in separate instances on Cape Cod Wednesday, a nonprofit said.

In a press release, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said it responded to two calls about stranded Risso’s dolphins within a few hours of each other.

“Our mobile dolphin rescue vehicle was custom-built to respond to complicated stranding events like this,” Misty Niemeyer, Stranding Coordinator – Marine Mammal Rescue at IFAW said.

The first dolphin, an adult female, was found at Ryder’s Beach in Truro. Along with IFAW veterinarians, staff, and volunteers, the rescue effort had help from the Cape Cod National Seashore, Center for Coastal Studies, and AmeriCorps Cape Cod, the IFAW said, with more than 30 people involved in all.


Rescuers moved the dolphin, which weighed in at around 700 pounds, into the IFAW’s mobile dolphin rescue vehicle to move it toward a better release site with deeper water. IFAW says the vehicle is the only one of its kind.

“While responders were rescuing the adult dolphin, a second call to IFAW’s stranding hotline came through about a possible stranding of a Risso’s dolphin calf in Provincetown, a few miles away,” the group said.

A team dispatched to Providence to retrieve the calf and bring it to the vehicle.

Tests indicated that both animals were healthy enough to be returned to the water, they said. Both were released at Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown.

“Both animals were fitted with temporary satellite tags that enable the team to continue to track their movements at sea,” the IFAW said.

Risso’s dolphins, also called gray dolphins, typically prefer deep ocean water near the continental shelf edge, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They can grow up to 13 feet in length and 1,100 pounds.