Change text size
A-
A
A+
 
 
Choose your language:
en
 

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 but please continue to keep your distance.  Cetaceans are wild animals and can be unpredictable even when seemingly incapacitated.  Some marine mammals 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/re-float the animal yourself.  However well intended, such rescue attempts risk endangering yourself and further harming the animal.  Even a small cetacean that appears healthy may have sustained unseen injuries, and further injury can be caused by attempting to move it in the wrong way.

On arrival, a strandings response team will make a full veterinary assessment of the animal including any obvious external injuries, body condition and respiration rate.  The length of time stranded and proximity of any predators are also considered, in conjunction with an evaluation of local conditions such as tidal state, surf and substrate.  Trained responders and veterinarians have the skills, experience and equipment to obtain the best result possible for both human safety and animal welfare.