Unexplained dolphin beachings keep Cape Cod busy

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The dolphin death toll reached 103 on Friday, when rescue teams tallied another unexplained death on the beaches of Cape Cod, Mass..

Since January, there have been 147 incidents of dolphins being stranded, and 38 successful rescues and releases, NPR said.

These events are not new to the Cape, and "There is a large variability year to year," Kate Moore, Marine Manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said to CNN.

However, the recent rash of beaching dolphins represent "more than half my annual average in a month," Moore said.

Scientists still are not sure what causes these annual events, but Wellfleet harbormaster Michael Flanagan explained earlier that in winter "the harbor ices over and inhibits the animals from coming close to the shore. But now that the water is warmer, we're seeing lots more dolphins washing up than ever before," CNN reported.

Once beached, rescuers and volunteers mobilize to save them. The dolphins are hoisted into beach carts, and wheeled into special International Fund for Animal Welfare trailers.

From there, IFAW scientists perform tests on the dolphins to determine if they are healthy enough to release, NPR reported.

If deemed healthy, the dolphins are released back into the Atlantic Ocean, away from the Cape, so they don't get stranded again, said NPR.

Rescuers watch as dolphins are released, and swim back into the open ocean, without answers regarding why they continue to get stranded.

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