Updated: February 12, 2012
Scientists continue to be baffled by the unprecedented number of dolphin standings occurring along Cape Cod Bay. One hundred and sixty beached animals have been counted since the mass-stranding began on Jan. 12. That’s way above the annual average of 38 and it’s only February.
Rescuers on Cape Cod have managed to save dozens of dolphins. But as this episode drags on, their resources are wearing thin.
‘This Is An Outrageous Number’
Everything about Wellfleet harbormaster Mike Flanagan screams longtime Cape Codder: his wind-worn features, his mental map of the harbor floor, and his rather unromantic views on the activity of saving dolphins.
“Well it beats the alternative,” Flanagan says, “pickin’ them off the beach is not an easy thing to do.”
Wednesday morning, Flanagan is about a mile off Wellfleet, gently nudging three dolphins toward deeper water, using the vibrations of his boat to guide them through a labyrinth of points and shallow inlets. He calls this place a “fish trap.”
“The dolphins come swimming down from the north,” he explains. “Once they get up in the harbor and the tide goes out on them, there’s no place for them to go.”
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