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Disorientated minke whale trapped in Fraserburgh harbour, August 2007.

Disorientated minke whale trapped in Fraserburgh harbour, August 2007.

Recovery of a dead harbour porpoise. Measuring 1.78 metres in length, this female was the second largest individual recorded in Scotland.

Recovery of a dead harbour porpoise. Measuring 1.78 metres in length, this female was the second largest individual recorded in Scotland.

A 57 tonne male sperm whale that live-stranded on the Isle of Lewis in December 2004.

A 57 tonne male sperm whale that live-stranded on the Isle of Lewis in December 2004.

Refloating an Atlantic white-sided dolphin during a mass stranding in Brora.

Refloating an Atlantic white-sided dolphin during a mass stranding in Brora.

Stranded whales & dolphins

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach or in the shallows, you must send for help QUICKLY.

A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not the animal may be returned to the sea.

What to do

  • Telephone for help, making sure you can give an accurate location and description of the animal. If in Scotland, call the CRRU on 01261 851 696 (or alternatively BDMLR on 01825 765 546).
  • You can contact your nearest Police station or local SSPCA on their Helpline 03000 999 999 with details - they should know what to do.
  • Meanwhile, return to the scene and wait for help to arrive.
  • Try to keep dogs and members of the public at a distance to avoid any further stress to the animal.
  • If you can find adequate help, gently roll the animal over onto its front and keep its skin wet by dousing with seawater.
  • Do NOT pull the animal by its fins or tail and be VERY careful not to get water down the blowhole when dousing.
  • Also, be extremely careful of the teeth and tail. DO NOT PUT YOURSELF AT RISK. Whales and dolphins are powerful animals and they can carry diseases that are transferrable to humans. If in doubt, WAIT for help.

For full contact numbers for Scotland or England/Wales, download the respective Strandings Poster by clicking on the appropriate links below.

If you find a DEAD whale or dolphin, however, (in any condition) secure the carcass if possible above the high water mark, make exact notes on its location with reference to maps or local features and contact the CRRU and the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (www.strandings.org) at the Scottish Agricultural College on 01463 243 030 (or 07979 245 893 outside office hours).

In England or Wales, telephone The UK Strandings Hotline (freephone number) on 0800 652 0333 or visit http://ukstrandings.org

In Northern Ireland contact 08 0232 381251

For the Republic of Ireland telephone 021 276871.

To download a copy of the "Scottish Strandings Poster", with contact numbers and advice on what to do if you find a stranded dolphin or seal, click HERE.

Full sized copies of the A3 poster can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed A4 envelope to the CRRU at PO Box 11307, Banff, AB45 3WB.

To download a copy of the "English & Welsh Strandings Poster" click HERE.

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