What would you do if you found a stranded whale?

Marine mammal experts share how to prevent unintended harm

Hey Pod,

This week, I’ve been lucky enough to have some interesting chats with marine mammal experts about beached, or stranded, whales. Do you know why whales beach? And if you came across a stranded marine animal on a beach, would you know what to do? The full articles are coming soon (watch this space) but, in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek in…

This week’s hot take

If you come across a stranded marine animal, what should you do (and, importantly, what should you NOT do)? Listen up for the expert’s tips:

Dan Jarvis, British Divers Marine Life Rescue

“There are sometimes instances when people do try to assist these animals that they actually cause more harm without realising it. As well intentioned as their actions are, they can actually cause a lot more distress and damage to the animal.”

“It's really, really important … to call for help and get advice and we can get assistance on the way as quickly as we can.”

Daren Grover, Project Jonah New Zealand

“We simply want to keep these animals cool, because once they're out of the water they will start to heat up… If they're otherwise healthy, the number one risk to them dying when they strand is actually heatstroke: literally cooking from the inside.”

Dr. Kevin Robinson, Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit

“Strandings are generally categorised according to the clinical presenting condition of the animal, i.e. malnutrition, traumatic injury or diseased, maternal separation etc. In terms of possible refloatation of healthy, live-stranded animals, speed of response and access to the casualty are probably the two most important factors in determining whether an animal can be returned to the ocean.”

Rob Deaville, UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme / Zoological Society of London

“I think for me, [I’d like] to make people aware and appreciate their marine habitat more … and then, once you have them hooked in, then take that conversation further forward.”

What do you want the experts to answer in a future edition? Pop your requests in the comments.

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The Deep Dive

If you’re after an enthralling new book to read, NewScientist recommends The Brilliant Abyss for a fascinating overview of the weird and wonderful life deep in the sea. I’m looking forward to checking it out!

Lots of news to digest this week so thanks for reading - hope you enjoyed it and see you next week!

Melissa

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