Report a Stranding

Project Jonah Report a Stranding 2

If you’re the first to discover a stranding call Project Jonah or DOC immediately.

Emergency Contact Numbers:

Project Jonah 24 Hour Stranding Hotline: 0800 4 WHALE (0800 4 94253)
DOC Stranding Hotline: 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)
If all else fails dial 111 and inform the Police. 

Our stranding hotline is answered 24 hours a day and will give you specific advice on how to deal with a stranding.

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 on their 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, including 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
  • Cover the animal's eyes
  • Step on, near or over the tail
  • Stand directly in front of the animal's head
  • Pull the animal by its tail
  • Use the fins as levers
  • 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.


Report a Stranding
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