Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stranding of an Atlantic white-sided dolphin in Manomet

Today, NECWA staff members, Patrick and Krill headed down to the beaches of Manomet to check out a report of a dead, stranded Atlantic white-sided dolphin. Atlantic white-sided dolphins are common to our area in the spring, summer and fall, but tend to head further offshore and south in the wintertime. Dolphins are very social and travel in pods or family units. But often a single animal will wash ashore along our Cape and New England beaches. 

This carcass was reported by a local resident of the area, Donald, who had found the carcass the previous day. When Patrick and Krill arrived on site, it was clear that this animal had been dead for a long time. And the numerous cuts and scars on the animal's body were probably the result of the carcasses being moved up and down the rocky beach.

Body measurements, photographs and teeth were collected and this information was sent to researchers at the Marine Mammal Rescue Department associated with the New England Aquarium (NEAq) in Boston. The Marine Mammal Rescue Dept. oversees all marine mammal and sea turtle strandings (live or dead) in the area from Plymouth south all the way north to the Maine border. 

It is unfortunate and sad when a beautiful dolphin like this individual strands along our shores. But it is hoped that the information provided today will help scientists better understand and protect this amazing species. And it may provide valuable information on cetacean strandings in general. 

To report a stranded, live or dead, marine mammal or sea turtle to the NEAq, (Plymouth/Barnstable line to Maine) call their hotline number at 1-617-973-5247,

To report a stranded, live or dead, marine mammal or sea turtle to the IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue Program (Bourne and all of Cape Cod) call 1- 508-743-9548.