If you come across a stranded seal or dolphin, you can help by knowing what to do or who to call.
Seals regularly come out of the sea to rest. Pups are often left along on the shore by their mothers, who may be offshore – where they can be surprisingly hard to see. Adults and pups can be safely watched from a distance but don’t approach too close, as the parents will be scared off and may abandon their pups.
If you think that a seal is sick, injured or really abandoned…1. Telephone for help 2. Keep people and their dogs away until help arrives 3. Do not get too close to injured seals or pups – they can bite Call British Divers Marine Life Rescue on the following UK national hotline: 01825 765546. If you’re based in Wales and would like to seek advice from a Pembrokeshire-based rescue centre, please contact Terry Leadbetter on 01646 692943 or 07970 285086.
Dolphins, whales and porpoises breath air. and when stranded on the shore, they need to be kept cool with water. If a stranded dolphin, whale or porpoise is found…1. Telephone for help at once 2. Calmly approach the animal, but be careful – it could make sudden movements 3. If you can find adequate assistance, roll the animal over onto its front and keep the skin wet with sea water. Do not pull on its fins or tail and be very careful not to get water into the blowhole. 4. Keep dogs and crowds away and avoid loud noise or sudden movement to reduce stress 5. Do not attempt to drag the animal 6. Be very careful as these are large powerful animals.
Sending for HelpAs soon as possible, make sure that the caller can give an accurate location and description of the animal. Do not put yourself at risk.
Rescue for LIVE stranded animals can be called 24 hours a day.
UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme – 0800 6520333
RSPCA Emergency Number – 0870 5555 999
Environment Agency Emergency Number – 0800 807 060
British Divers Marine Life Rescue – UK National Hotline – 01825 765546
Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit – Scottish Hotline – 01261 851696
SSPCA Edinburgh – 0870 7377722
SSPCA Dundee – 01382 380593
SSPCA Aberdeen – 01224 581236
DEAD stranded animals should be reported to CSIP on 0800 6520333
Marine animals are wild. They carry diseases which are transferable to humans, and they can cause injury by thrashing their tails or otherwise. Never put your self at risk of injury.1. Approach animals with care, and if in doubt wait for help. 2. Do not attempt to move heavy animals without adequte assistance. 3. Always wash your hands thoroughly after contact. 4. Children are particularly at risk from marine mammals, and should stay away.
Contacts details for Strandings Co-ordinatorsStrandings Co-ordinator – England
Louise AllanThe Natural History Museum Cromwell Road South Kensington London SW7 5BD
Telephone: 020 7942 5155
Strandings Co-ordinator – CornwallMarine Strandings Network Cornwall Wildlife Trust Five Acres Allet Truro TR4 9DJ
Telephone: 0345 2012626
Strandings Co-ordinator – Wales
Rod PenroseMarine Environmental Monitoring Penwalk Llechryd Cardigan Dyfed SA43 2PS
Telephone: 0800 6520333
Strandings Co-ordinator – Scotland
SAC Veterinary ServicesDrummondhill Stratharrick Road Inverness IV2 4JZ
Telephone: 01463 243030
Strandings Co-ordinator – UK (all strandings reports)
Richard C. Sabin – Curator and UK Cetacean Strandings Co-ordinatorMammal Group Division Tetrapods and fish Department of Zoology The Natural History Museum Cromwell Road South Kensington London SW7 5BD
Telephone: 020 7942 5155 (cetaceans)/ 0207 4496672 (seals and birds)