By Jessica Phelan, GlobalPost
Finally, some good news: around 30 dolphins were safely returned to sea after washing ashore on a Brazilian beach.
The mammals were saved by the quick thinking of beachgoers at Arraial do Cabo, in Rio de Janeiro state.
According to Gerd Traue, who caught the incident on camera, the dolphins appeared at 8:00 AM on March 5.
His video (below) shows the pod dragged closer and closer to shore, seemingly by a strong current, until the animals lie stranded on the beach itself. Thrashing their bodies and making high-pitched squeals, they become stuck in the wet sand and are unable to swim back out to sea.
People approach, at first unsure of what to do, but soon cooperating to drag the dolphins back into the water by their tails.
The entire pod was returned to safety within a couple of minutes. Beachgoers broke into cheers and applause as the dolphins swam away.
The happy ending is all the more welcome for the fact that it's unusual: in February, hundreds of dead bottlenose dolphins washed ashore on the northern coast of Peru, for reasons that remain a mystery. Meanwhile almost 200 dolphins have stranded themselves on the shores of Cape Cod in the past month; at least 125 have died, despite efforts to save them.
Dolphins cannot survive long on land, and unless returned to sea quickly, may struggle to recover even once they're back in the water.
The video of the Arraial do Cabo rescue, which has had over 1 million views since Monday, is sure to warm your cockles: