Gary: Scientists are saying it is about the worst they have ever seen — dozens of dolphins stranding themselves along the shore near Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
So what do scientists think this is happening?
Misty Neimeyer: I don’t know.
Gary: At this point, no one knows for sure. It is a mystery that marine biologist Misty Neimeyer is trying to solve.
Neimeyer: It could be cyclical with more animals close to shore, it’s really hard to say.
Gary: Yesterday, the count was 122 dolphins stranded since January 12th. That is more than the number that would normally strand in the entire year. And 92 died in what has become the single largest stranding in at least two decades in the northeast, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Niemeyer has been examining the bodies of dolphins that did not survive, looking for clues.
Niemeyer: One thing it might tell us is if all of these animals do look healthy, then we know that they were a healthy group of dolphins and that it was more likely something geographic or weather related, something like that — not an emerging disease or toxins or anything like that.
Gary: Despite the mystery, there are a few theories on what is behind the strandings. Dolphins are social animals and could be following a disoriented leader. You know, like the blind leading the blind. Also, their food supply may be too close to shore. It may even have something to do with the unusually mild winter.
Meanwhile, rescuers, along with hundreds of volunteers, are trying to save dolphins that are still alive. And they are trying to prevent them from stranding again by releasing the rescued dolphins in deep water.
And scientists are now tagging some dophlins that have been released back into the ocean with electronic tags, allowing them to track their movements and see where they go next. If the tag is transmitting, it means the animal is alive.
Although about 200 more dolphins have been spotted off the coast since the weekend, scientists are hoping they find more answers before they find more dying dolphins.
Gary Hamilton, Channel One News.