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The number of marine mammals found stranded in Cape Cod Bay has dropped, official says

Last year saw an unusually high number of marine mammals become stranded in the Cape Cod Bay region, worrying some wildlife experts, but the numbers seem to be returning to normal this year.

By this time last year, 133 marine mammals, mostly dolphins, became stuck in the tidal waters or beached themselves due to disease or injury. This year, only 14 animals have been stranded, said Brian Sharp, coordinator for the International Fund for Animal Welfare Stranding.

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“The numbers are a stark contrast from last year, which was very, very high,” Sharp said in a telephone interview. “It’s going back to what would seem to be a normal year.”

None of the dolphins or seals who were found stuck near the shores of the bay were alive, indicating that they were probably sick and became separated from their groups, Sharp said.

He said many experts believe last year’s high rate of strandings was due to the large number of dolphins that seemed to be hanging off the coast.

The Cape Cod Bay area is notorious for marine mammal strandings, posting one of the highest rates in the world, Sharp said.

“Worldwide, Cape Cod Bay has the highest incidence rate of live strandings in the world,” he said.

Todd Feathers can be reached at todd.feathers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.
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