Links to Whale and Dolphin (cetacean) Stranding and Assistance

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Whale and Dolphin (cetacean) Stranding and Assistance
Last Link Check: 10 October 2008 Last updated: 30 August 2005

What to Do to Help
Hotline Phone Numbers live strandings

This is a developing and evolving resource. We have only begun to scratch the surface here and need information on other teams worldwide and contacts. We welcome suggestions for additions, comments on how to make the page more useful, and links worldwide.

Index of page below.     For phones and what to do, see above
Concerned Groups and Individuals
Whale and Dolphin Online Identification Charts (also books)
Reasons for Stranding
Reporting Procedures For Records and Research (some parts of world)
Training in Rescue
Stranding Networks: Agreements and Frameworks
Wildlife Law Links
Latest News, Journals, Newsletters, Manuals
Others of Interest

Concerned Groups and Individuals      return to index

Note: If you are or know of a group on the web involved in protecting dolphins or whales, other than those groups under other categories, please contact us.

  • Dolphin Care UK "We urgently need your help in our campaign to stop dolphin deaths in fishing nets."
  • Marine Connection "The Marine Connection is a UK based charity committed to working internationally for the care and protection of dolphins and whales."
  • Organisation Cetacea (ORCHA) "We are all about people power! You can help us to make a real difference in our efforts to protect the marine environment. There are lots of ways in which you can get involved in any one of the projects... These projects are reliant on your involvement and support."

    Whale and Dolphin Online Identification Charts
    (also books)
    return to index

    Identification Key of adult species to be found around British Isles Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum (British)
    The UK Whale and Dolphin Stranding Scheme
    based on Fraser 1976. [see books below]
    Fraser F.C., British whales, dolphins and porpoises: a guide for the identification and reporting of stranded whales, dolphins and porpoises on the British coasts. 5th edition. British Museum (Natural History): 54p 1976.
    Carwardine M, Eyewitness handbooks: Whales dolphins and porpoises, 256p, Dorling Kindersley Press, ISBN 0-7513-1030-1, 1995.
    alternative method which is pictorial and based initially on size and presence or absence of beak.
    Evans PGH, Guide to the Identification of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises in European Seas, 1995.
    Lien, Jon and Steven Katona, A Guide to the Photographic Identification of Individual Whales Based on Their Natural and Acquired Markings Photo-identification is the preferred, benign method for field recognition of individual whales. Researchers have amassed catalogs of photographs of individuals of many species of cetacea, learning about their population dynamics, life cycle and migration. This book provides the necessary information to properly photograph, document, and contribute data to these scientific projects. Since 1972, Allied Whale, the marine mammal research center at College of the Atlantic, has been pioneering development of modern whale research techniques in the Gulf of Maine and throughout the world. Jon Lien and Steven Katona of Allied Whales price and ordering

    Reasons for Stranding      return to index

    Some Alternative Theories
  • Why Whales Mass Strand: The Seaquake Theory by Captain D. Williams why do whales strand
    MASS STRANDINGS OF WHALES AND DOLPHINS IN CAPE COD BAY Based on evidence of seismic activity or seaquakes which cause "barotrauma and intense pain preventing diving and subsequent disruption of feeding and a changed symbiotic relationship with parasites which would lead to parasitic superinfection. Accounts for health condition of adults vs young, type of stranding beaches and locations worldwide. Serious injury of this nature would unsettle the symbiotic relationship each mammal had with its parasites, leading to a parasitic superinfection.
  • Acoustic Testing

    Does acoustic testing strand whales? Frantzis, A. (1998) Nature 392, 29. For information on effects of underwater submarine detection system acoustical testing: source pdf

    For further discussion see:
    Atypical mass strandings and naval exercises Mar 23 2000, Dr. Alexandros Frantzis Institute of Marine Biological Resources National Centre for Marine Research Agios Kosmas GR-166 04 Hellenikon GREECE

    Save Whales and Dolphins From Sonar Testing
    Submit comments to NOAA against the testing of high-powered sonar off Kauai set for July 2006.
    Page gives background to testing and other incidences of possible effects on whales.

    Sonar Killed Whales, Navy Admits By Cat Lazaroff December 2001
    News announcement of release of U.S. Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service Report source

    Interim report released by U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Commerce (December 2001 )
    pdf source

  • Geomagnetic Disturbances

    Cetacean Live stranding Dates Relate to Geomagnetic Disturbances, Klinowska, M. (1985), Aquatic Mammals. vol. 11:3.

    Support for the idea of navigation by geomagnetism
    "Evidence that fin whales respond to the geomagnetic field during migration (1992), Walker, M.M., Kirschvink, J.L., Dizon, A.E. and Ahmed, G., J. Exptl. Biol. 171: 67-78 1992 pdf source "our results are consistent with the hypothesis that fin whales possess a magnetic sense and that they use it to travel in areas of low geomagnetic field gradient and possibly low magnetic intensity during migration."

  • Biotoxins

    see - Biotoxins and Disease - an overview of the subject by Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary source

    See - U.S. National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms source
    also see - Marine Biotoxins and Harmful Algae: A National Plan source

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae ) fatally poisoned by dinoflagellate toxin 1989 Geraci, J. A., D. M. Anderson, R. J. Timperi, D. J. St. Aubin, G. A. Early, J. A. Prescott, and C. A. Mayo., Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 46: pp 1895-1898.

  • General Coverage of Different Theories

    Campaigns and Reports Cetaceans Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) source General coverage marine mammal strandings - Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, Chemical Pollution, Commercial Fisheries, Noise Pollution, Habitat Degradation, Disease and Mortality. Look under campaigns and search for "marine mammal stranding".

    Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society source
    Gives a brief treatment of a number of different explanations fitting different situations and groupings.

    Mass Strandings and Die-off Events of Cetaceans: Why? (1998) Vanessa Brown, Gene Smith, and Briana Weldon, A paper for MSCI 375, Biology of Marine Mammals, submitted November 4, 1998

  • General Discussion of Theories

    Captain D. Williams - Scrutinizes many of the current stranding theories source
    Gives a rundown of most consistently found observations of strandings and questions many of the current theories listed below.

    A discussion and related bibliography

    Reporting Procedures for Records and Research (some parts of world)      return to index

    Recordings of strandings
    United States
    Forms: For Marine Mammal Stranding Forms & Reports:
    Northeast Region of U.S. including Stellwagen
  • Any sighting of a dead whale should be reported to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network - 508-495-2090 or 978-585-7149 (Beeper) source
    Marine Animal Response Society Nova Scotia 1-866-5NS-MARS (1-866-567-6277) or If you see any beached (alive or dead) whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals or sea turtles, or animals entangled in fishing gear - Please call the toll-free Number above. Please report the date, time, location, type or description of the animals, number and behaviour. These records are valuable for research undertaken through the Marine Animal Response Society, Dalhousie University and the NovaScotia Museum. source
    Caribbean not currently responding
    Caribbean Stranding Network source Beeper system 787-402-2337 or 402-7243 Unit 990-0440 Auspiciado por 787-399-VIDA (787-399-8432) To report a stranding or mortality case: "Start with the beeper system. Secondly, use the cellular number. Begin your message with the code "Neptune Alert" to indicate an emergency call (if it is not an emergency do not use this code). Continue with the type of animal or animals stranded or in need of assistance, state if they are alive or dead, the type of event and the location. End your message with your name and a telephone number were you might be reached..." "...available 24 hours a day to conduct necropsies, rescue and rehabilitate whales, dolphins and manatees with the goal of determining cause of death or providing an opportunity of survival for these species found in life-threatening situations due to natural or human causes."
    United Kingdom
  • Stranded whales & dolphins can you help?
  • According to the Natural History Museum source
    "..All UK strandings and cetaceans accidentally caught at sea (by-catches) should be reported directly to the Natural History Museum (0207 942 5155) or via one of the regional participating bodies. In Scotland, reports should be made via the Scottish Agricultural Centre's Veterinary Investigation Centre, Inverness (01463 243030). In Wales, they can be reported via Marine Environmental Monitoring (01348 875000). In Cornwall, reports can be made to the Cornish Biological Records Unit (01209 710424). Successful reports have been made through HM Coastguard, the Police, Local Authorities, the RSPCA, the NRA, County Trusts, and local Sealife Centres. (the appropriate telephone numbers should be obtained from the local telephone directory). If an animal is still alive then the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) or SSPCA (Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) should be contacted first with a view to keeping the animal alive and returning it to the sea (the appropriate telephone number should be obtained from the local telephone directory). "
    See the National Whale Stranding Recording Scheme Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum (British)

    Training in Rescue      return to index

    Australia [Rescue and Release]Orrca Marine Mammal Rescue in Australia
    Conducts Marine Mammal Rescue Training Workshop
    New Zealand
    Project Jonah Marine Mammal Medic Course
    source Includes pontoon refloating equipment use developed by Project Jonah.
    British Divers Marine Life Rescue
    Marine Mammal Medic Handbook (only available to those completing BDMLR Medic Course) Photos and discussion of use of pontoon system for refloating. Management of the stranded cetacean.
    California [Rescue Rehabilitation and Release]The Marine Mammal Center
    extensive rescue training
    Sausalito Anchor Bay Operations Monterey Bay Operations San Luis Obispo Operations
    Texas [Rescue Rehabilitation and Release] Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network hotline 1-800-9-MAMMAL
    Volunteer Training Days three times a year
    United Kingdom
    BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) To become a marine mammal medic. One day course.

    Stranding Networks: Agreements, Frameworks and Plans      return to index

    Isle of Mull
  • Oil Spills and Marine Life: Guidelines for a response plan for the Isle of Mull Hill, J.A. 1999. Oil Spills and Marine Wildlife: Guidelines for a Response Plan for the Isle of Mull. The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, Mull. 119pp. Herriot-Watt University Project commissioned by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust 29 September 1999
    "...These guidelines outline primary considerations such as the species of seabird, otter, seal and cetaceans found in the area, the effects that oil will have on them and their vulnerability and how to establish the priorities for protection. Current rescue and rehabilitation techniques for these species have been outlined and recommendations made based on past mistakes from previous wildlife rescue efforts. Most importantly local facilities, personnel, equipment and other logistics for effective response decisions have been identified as vital for a rescue effort..."
    Mediterranean and Black Sea
  • ACCOBAMS - The Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area. "A cooperative tool for the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean and Black Seas The purpose of ACCOBAMS is to reduce threats to cetaceans in Mediterranean and Black Sea waters and improve our knowledge of these animals. ACCOBAMS is the first Agreement binding the countries in these two subregions, and enabling them to work together on a matter of general interest." source For organizations involved, see Interactive Map of Partners Search for individuals involved in the topic stranding and area involved
  • Guidelines for the Development of National Networks of Cetacean Strandings Monitoring Plan d’Action pour la Méditerranée (PAM), premier programme Mer Régionale du PNUE source English and French. Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) and ACCOBAMS Secretariat
    U.S. National Plans and Programs
  • Marine Mammal Health and Stranding response Program: Program Development Plan Paul R. Becker, Dean Wilkinson, and Ted I. Lillestolen, National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Protected Resources source
  • United States Code - Title 16 Chapter 31 - Marine Mammal Protection source from Legal Information Institute's United States Code Collection
    also see various Chapter 16 titles for other relevant codes: source
  • California Wildlife Response Plan for California - Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) of the Department of Fish and Game Why Report Stranded Marine Mammals?

    International Environmental and Wildlife Law Links   return index

    The Center for International Environmental Law
    "The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is a public interest, not-for-profit environmental law firm founded in 1989 to strengthen international and comparative environmental law and policy around the world. CIEL provides a full range of environmental legal services in both international and comparative national law, including: policy research and publication, advice and advocacy, education and training, and institution building. ... CIEL’s program areas include Climate Change, Biodiversity and Wildlife, Trade, International Financial Institutions, Law and Communities, Persistent Organic Pollutants and Human Rights and the Environment. "
    American Society of International Law - Wildlife Interest Group
    some relevant laws, documents, position papers, resolutions, agreements
    Announcement on International Wildlife Law Conference (IWLC)

    Latest News, Journals, Newsletters, Manuals      return to index

    [Latest news] WDCS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
    [Latest Press Releases] Whale Watch PRESS RELEASES source
    [Newsletter] Soundnet The Newsletter of the Oceania Project
    up-to-date current news, action alerts, features, research, information on Cetaceans
    [Journal] Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy "Journal's mission is to address legal and political issues concerning the human race's interrelationship with and management of wildlife species, their habitats, and the biosphere. This includes analysis of the efficacy of international and regional wildlife treaty regimes in conserving species (as well as national legislation and regulations enacted to implement such regimes), the impact of judicial decisions at both the national and international level, and the interface of legal and political institutions with other sectors in society that have a substantive impact on the management and conservation of species and ecosystems."
    [Manual] British RSPCA: "the consequences to harbour porpoises of modern fishing methods"; "a first aid guide for officials attending strandings"; "guide for veterinary surgeons called to a stranding..." source

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