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Stranded cetaceans -

advice to the public on responding safely and effectively


If you come across a stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise, please keep your distance.  If you think the relevant authorities may not be aware, please contact your local strandings response network at the earliest opportunity.

Your instinct may be to give assistance or comfort but please continue to keep your distance.  Cetaceans are wild animals.  They can be unpredictable even when seemingly incapacitated, and may also carry infectious diseases which can be transmitted to humans.  Your presence is also likely to increase stress to the animal who may already be agitated and in pain.  Please keep dogs and children away for the same reason.

Never attempt to rescue the animal yourself.  However well intended, such rescue attempts risk endangering yourself and fatally harming the animal.  Even a small cetacean that appears healthy may have sustained unseen injuries, and further harm can be caused by attempting to move it in the wrong manner.

The strandings response team will make a full veterinary assessment of the animal including body condition, demeanour, respiration rate, proximity to predators and length of stranding.  They will also evaluate local conditions such as tidal state and range, surf and substrate.  They have the skills, experience and equipment to obtain the best result possible for both human safety and animal welfare.

Thank you for taking the time to read this advice.