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 IWC report published on stranded cetaceans –

Euthanasia Protocols to Optimize Welfare Concerns

Experts from eleven countries have collaborated to assess and inform guidelines on stranded cetacean euthanasia.   Live stranding of large cetaceans is an increasing problem for coastal states.  Rescue is of course the ideal outcome but in reality, the prognosis is bleak when a large whale strands.  In most cases, successful re-floatation is impossible and euthanasia is the best outcome for the welfare of a suffering animal. 

Although the incidence of reported stranding is increasing, it is still a relatively rare occurrence which means experience and best practice are slow to accumulate.  Last year, an IWC workshop pooled international expertise to compare euthanasia methods and share lessons learned.  The resulting report is now published and makes a series of recommendations which aim to inform existing guidelines and assist in their creation in places where none currently exist.

Fundamental to these recommendations is an understanding that no two strandings will be the same.  Acute differences exist both between and within individual countries, in terms of law, culture, logistics, and economics.   The group do not dictate best practice but offer generic guidelines to be interpreted depending on local factors. 

It is hoped these guidelines will advise and support stranding response teams who find themselves facing this very difficult situation.

To read the report click here.

To read about why cetaceans strand, click here.