British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Rescue

Stranded Animals

How you can help marine mammals in need.

If you find a live seal

Watch it from a distance. Do not approach the animal. Seals regularly haul out on our coasts - it is part of their normal behaviour and in fact they spend more time out of the water, digesting their food and resting. Therefore, finding a seal on the beach does not mean there is necessarily a problem and they should not be chased back into the sea as this may stop them from doing waht they need to do - rest. A healthy seal should be left well alone.

After stormy weather and High tides, it is usual for seals to come out onto beaches to rest and re-gather their strength.  Many do not need first aid, but we will always try to find someone to check them out just in case.

However, if there is a problem, there are a number of things you may see:

If you see a seal that may be abandoned, thin or ill, then call for advice and assistance:

BDMLR hotline: 01825 765546 (office hours) or 07787 433412 (out of hours)
RSPCA hotline (England & Wales): 0300 1234 999
SSPCA hotline (Scotland): 03000 999 999

You will receive further advice over the phone. If there is a problem with the animal, there are some important things you can do to help:

If you find a live whale, dolphin or porpoise

A whale, dolphin or porpoise stranded on the beach is obviously not a usual phenomenon. These animals do not beach themselves under normal circumstances, and they will require assistance. Please do not return them to the sea as they may need a period of recovery before they are fit enough to swim strongly.

BDMLR hotline: 01825 765546 (office hours) or 07787 433412 (out of hours)
RSPCA hotline (England & Wales): 0300 1234 999
SSPCA hotline (Scotland): 03000 999 999

You will receive further advice over the phone, but important things you can do to help are:

If you find a dead cetacean

The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme collect a wide range of data on each stranding found on UK shores. In the event that you discover a dead stranded animal, please contact the CSIP hotline and give a description of the following where possible:

  • location and date found
  • species and sex
  • overall length
  • condition of the animal
  • your contact details should further information be needed

Digital images are extremely helpful in the identification to species of strandings, as well as ascertaining whether the body may be suitable for post-mortem examination. If possible, please also forward any images that may have been taken with a digital camera or mobile phone.

CSIP have a produced a useful leaflet that can be downloaded by clicking here.

CSIP hotline: 0800 6520333. Callers are given a number of options to ensure they reach the correct department.  You can also use this number to contact BDMLR as there is an option for live animal strandings that transfers directly to us.

 

Want to know more?

Then why not become a and get actively involved in marine mammal rescue around the U.K. We run regular one day training courses in all aspects of marine mammal rescue. For further details, contact our BDMLR hotline.