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What To Do If You Find a Stranded Marine Mammal


Seven Steps to Help a Stranded Marine Mammal:

  1. Don't Touch and do not pick up, pour water on or feed the animal!
    They are wild animals and can bite. They also are easily stressed by humans.

  2. Do not return the animal to the water
    Seals and sea lions temporarily "haul-out" on land to rest. Harbor seal mothers often leave their pups ashore while they're feeding at sea. A beached whale, dolphin, or porpoise should be reported immediately.

  3. Observe
    Observe the animal from a distance of at least 50 feet. Keep people and dogs away.

  4. Describe
    Note physical characteristics such as size, presence of external earflaps, and fur color. This helps us determine the species, what rescue equipment and volunteers are needed.

  5. Condition
    Note the animal's condition. Is it weak and underweight? Are there any open wounds?

  6. Identification
    Does the animal have any obvious identification tags or markings?

  7. Location
    Determine the exact location of the animal in order to provide accurate directions. We cannot rescue an animal if we cannot find it!

  8. Call The Marine Mammal Center with as much information as you have!  Our Response Hotlines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In Mendocino through San Mateo Counties:
(415) 289-SEAL (7325)

In Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties:
(831) 633-6298

In San Luis Obispo Counties:
(805) 771-6298

In Hawaii (for Hawaiian monk seal sightings):
(808) 987-0765


Click on the images above to learn more about the animal

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