IFAW Responds to Stranded Whales in Chatham

Courtesy of IFAW

CHATHAM – International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) team members responded to multiple whale strandings in Chatham as they tried to help the animals get back to sea.

On Saturday June 11, the IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue Team responded to reports of a mass stranding of five pilot whales on a sand bar in the southern part of Chatham Harbor.

IFAW officials worked alongside the Harbormaster and US Fish & Wildlife to help the animals.

Brian Sharp, Director of Marine Mammal Rescue & Research at IFAW, commented on the team’s rescue process.

“IFAW’s team of biologists and veterinarians began providing supporting care by cooling and protecting the animals from the sun, also righting the animals so they could breathe properly, while performing health assessments to determine the health of the animals,” he said.  

The response team had to wait for the tide to turn on Saturday afternoon before they could attempt to refloat the creatures.

One of the animals died, however responders were able to help the other four whales refloat with the hope of getting them to swim back out to deeper ocean waters.

Sharp said that two of the whales were spotted swimming out of the harbor by a shark-spotting aircraft. However, the other two whales stranded again shortly after.

Team members stayed for hours on Saturday night trying to refloat the animals but their attempts were not successful.

On Sunday, June 12, another report of a stranded pilot whale came in from the same area. IFAW sent a team out to respond and determine the best options on how to help.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter.

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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