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Stranded Marine Mammals:

If you spot a marine mammal on the beach their may be several reasons why it's there:

  • Seal pups are often left on the beach by their mother while she hunts for food

  • The animal may be injured or sick

  • The animal may be resting

The rule of thumb is to stay at least 50-yards away from the animal.  By approaching it, you add to its stress.  Resist the temptation to comfort the animal or learn more about it.  The best thing to do is call the Marine Mammal Stranding Network:

Jim Rice
Stranding Coordinator
Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network
Marine Mammal Institute|Oregon State University
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR 97365
541-867-0446 office
541-270-6830 stranding message line

Once Jim or a member of his team arrives onsite, they will make a determination about the animals welfare. 

NOAA's recommendations include:

Marine Mammals—whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions:


  • Call your local stranding network.

  • Use your camera or cell phone to take a photo of the animal from a safe distance. This can help responders identify the species and the steps necessary to help it.

  • Wait (if you can) for a trained and authorized responder to arrive so you can help them locate the animal. Watch it from a safe distance.

  • Don’t chase or corral the injured animal if it tries to move away.

  • Keep the area calm and quiet (to the extent you can) and encourage others to keep their distance and keep dogs on a leash.

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