All marine mammals are protected by federal law, even after death, and it is important to collect all scientific information from these animals better to understand the health of marine mammal populations and the threats they face. The Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy is a participant in the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a federal research program run by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Our field biologists respond to calls reporting dead marine mammals, and when carcasses are located, they examine the carcass, collect information, and take samples to identify the animal and determine the cause of death. If marine mammals, whether sick, injured, or dead, are encountered in the wild, please try to collect the following information:
1) A description of the animal?estimate the size, color, and other distinguishing features. Is it a seal, sea lion, dolphin, whale or otter? Is it injured, decomposed, or missing parts?
2) The animal's location as specific as possible. Get the name of the beach and the distance from the nearest parking lot, road, or trail.
3) The date and time you last saw the animal. Also, please leave your name and phone number in case you need to be contacted to provide further information.
4) Any other information that might be valuable in finding the animal, or that may have contributed to the injury or death of the animal.
Please remember: It is illegal to approach or handle a sick or injured marine mammal, and it is illegal to collect any parts of dead marine mammals.