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How to help a stranded marine mammal

Spring is a challenging time for young marine mammals that are still learning how to survive on their own. Throughout the season, Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institute rescue team is very busy monitoring and rescuing animals in distress. If you encounter a marine mammal that is sick, injured, malnourished, entangled, deceased or oiled, please follow these steps:

  1. DO NOT TOUCH: Do not touch, feed, harass, cover, pour water on, coax/drag/push into the water or out of the surf zone, allow dogs near or take selfies with the animal. These are wild animals and they may bite!
  2. OBSERVE ANIMAL: Observe the animal from a minimum of 50 feet (the length of a school bus). Keep people and pets away from the stranded animal. Note the animal’s physical characteristics and condition.
  3. DETERMINE LOCATION: Determine the exact location of the animal. Be as accurate as possible and note any landmarks so the CIMWI rescue team can easily find the animal.
  4. CALL HOTLINE: Call the CIMWI Rescue Hotline at (805) 567-1505. Provide your name, phone number, specific information about the animal and its location.

Remember: Marine mammals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violations can result in a civil penalty up to $11,000 as well as criminal penalties up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to a year or both.