If you’re the first to discover a stranding call DOC or Project Jonah immediately.
Emergency Contact Numbers:
|DOC Stranding Hotline: 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)
Project Jonah Stranding Hotline: 0800 4 WHALE (0800 4 94253)
If all else fails dial 111 and inform the Police.
Before phoning in make a thorough evaluation first. The more information you give us the better informed our decisions and response will be.
Assess the situation:
- Number of animals – how many have stranded? Are they all on the beach, or are there whales grounded in the water or milling out at sea?
- Species? If you’re not sure then just describe the animals. How big are they? What colour are they? Do they have any markings or colour patterns – for example a gray saddle patch ontheir back? How big is their dorsal fin? Do they have one?
- Condition – what sort of condition are they in? Are they alive or are they dead? Do they have any obvious injuries?
- State of the tide? Is the tide high or low? Is it incoming or outgoing?
- Sea and weather conditions? Is the sea calm or rough? Are there breakers inshore, white caps at sea?
- Access problems? Is the beach easily accessible? Will DOC or Project Jonah be able to get equipment down to the scene? Is the area only accessible by boat?
- Are there people or dogs on the scene?
When you phone in:
- Give your name and your contact phone number. Stay by the phone if possible so that you can be contacted again if more information is required
- Give your location, including directions to the site and any points of reference
- Give a full evaluation of the stranding, inlcuding what time you discovered it
- You will be asked to stay by the phone or return to the whale to begin basic first aid
- Keep the animal cool by pouring water gently over its body, focusing on the fins and tail flukes
- Cover the animal with towels or sheets (even seaweed) - keep these wet
- Move any animals lying on their sides into an upright position. Dig a shallow impression alongside the animal and roll them gently upright into the indentation
- Dig trenches under the flippers to relieve cramping
- Keep the stranding site as quiet as possible
- Keep noisy children and barking dogs away
- Cover or pour water down the blowhole
- Step on, near or over the tail
- Stand directly in front of the animal's head
- Pull the animal by its tail
- Shout or make loud noises
- Drag or roll the animal to water
Click here to download your own stranding poster. Help us educate others by posting these up in your local community.