Stranded Marine Mammal Rescue and Research - GlobalWhen the tide is low, the stakes are high for marine mammals
If you find a live or dead stranded marine mammal on Cape Cod or southeastern MA, please call IFAW’s marine mammal rescue hotline:
Media, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The hotline is for stranding reports only.
Keeping a safe distance from wildlife (150 feet) and keeping dogs leashed are important ways to help minimize stress to the animals and keep yourself and your pets safe.
Dolphins and whales can survive some time out of water—they are mammals like us and breathe air. Do not drag or push them back in to the water and do not pour water on them. They likely need medical care and our trained responders need to be able to help them. We have a team of experts and a custom-built mobile veterinary clinic to rescue stranded small cetaceans. Notifying our team immediately helps us get to the animals faster and gives the animals their best chance of survival!
Seals normally spend time on the beach resting and it is normal for most seals to be alone—even young pups. Some seal species leave their newborn pups on the beach while they forage at sea, so it is important to leave them alone so the mothers can come back to retrieve them. More often, the young seals on the beach have already been weaned and are independent, and are just taking a break from swimming and warming up in the sun. Do not approach, drag or try to force them back in to the water and do not pour water on them. They are likely just resting and will return to the water when they are ready. But, some seals may be sick, entangled, or injured and do need help, so please call the hotline if you believe the seal may be in need of assistance. Our trained responders can assess the situation and determine what course of action is needed.
Our team has been responding to strandings along more than 700 miles of coastline in southeastern Massachusetts since 1998. We work in a global hotspot for dolphin strandings that has a wide range of species and a large number of marine mammals that strand alive each year. We average over 260 stranded animals per year and have responded to more than 5,600 animal cases. We are a small staff supported by a wonderful team of professionally trained volunteers and interns.
Learn more about our volunteer and internship opportunities.
Entangled whales and sea turtles (live and dead)
Stranded sea turtles (live and dead)
Live North Atlantic right whale sightings
Stranded animals outside of IFAW’s response area
Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) and live basking sharks
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