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• Strandings that occur in the Greater Atlantic region are pinnipeds (seals), small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises), large cetaceans (whales), and sea turtles.

• Pinnipeds and sea turtles are classified as amphibious, implying that they can exist in both the marine environment and the terrestrial environment.

• However , if a cetacean strands, it is critical that trained responders arrive on scene as soon as possible.

What Should You Do If You Encounter A Stranded Animal? 

  1. Do not touch the animal!! This includes any dogs or other pets that you may have with you. Do not attempt to cover the animal, push it back to sea or splash water on it.
  2. Observe it from a safe distance of 100 yards (safe for you and the animal)
  3. Contact your local stranding network
  4. If uncertain who to call, please contact the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional 24-hour hotline 866-755-NOAA (6622)
  5. Be prepared to answer questions that the stranding responder will ask:
    1. Species (seal, turtle, dolphin or whale)
    2. Condition of the animal (live, dead, injured)
    3. Have a good idea of your location in order to describe it to the responder
    4. If possible, be able to stand by and wait for the responder so that you can direct them to the animal

Stranded harbor seal pup
Photo: College of the Atlantic - Allied Whale

Please Remember!!

For more information on the stranding program, please contact