Reporting Marine Mammals

Report Sick or Injured Marine Mammals

Marine Mammal Center
(415) 289-SEAL (7325)

(Most of below reposted from TMMC website.)

  1. Don’t Touch and do not pick up, pour water on or feed the animal!
    They are wild animals and can bite. They also are easily stressed by humans.
  2. Do not return the animal to the water
    Seals and sea lions temporarily “haul-out” on land to rest. Harbor seal mothers often leave their pups ashore while they’re feeding at sea. A beached whale, dolphin, or porpoise should be reported immediately.
  3. Observe
    Observe the animal from a distance of at least 25 feet, or two car lengths away. Keep people and dogs away.
  4. Describe
    Note physical characteristics such as size, presence of external earflaps, and fur color. This helps us determine the species, what rescue equipment and volunteers are needed.
  5. Condition
    Note the animal’s condition. Is it weak and underweight? Are there any open wounds?
  6. Identification
    Does the animal have any obvious identification tags or markings?
  7. Location
    Determine the exact location of the animal in order to provide accurate directions. We cannot rescue an animal if we cannot find it!
  8. Call The Marine Mammal Center with as much information as you have!  Our Response Hotlines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Report Dead Marine Mammals

California Academy of Science Ornithology and Mammalogy
(415) 379-5381

(Reposted from CAS website.)

Field biologists respond to calls reporting dead marine mammals, and when carcasses are located, they examine the carcass, collect information, and take samples to identify the animal and determine the cause of death. Please try to collect the following information:

  1. A description of the animal?estimate the size, color, and other distinguishing features. Is it a seal, sea lion, dolphin, whale or otter? Is it injured, decomposed, or missing parts?
  2. The animal’s location as specific as possible. Get the name of the beach and the distance from the nearest parking lot, road, or trail.
  3. The date and time you last saw the animal. Also, please leave your name and phone number in case you need to be contacted to provide further information.
  4. Any other information that might be valuable in finding the animal or that may have contributed to the injury or death of the animal.

Please remember: It is illegal to approach or handle a sick or injured marine mammal, and it is illegal to collect any parts of dead marine mammals.


Download the Whale Alert app to help reduce ship strikes.
Report whale entanglements to the NOAA Fisheries entanglement reporting hotline at 1-877-SOS-WHALe (1-887-767-9425)
Report derelict gear: 1-855-542-3935