Why Do Marine Mammals Strand?
Marine mammals may strand for any number of reasons. Marine mammals, like humans, get sick, tired, lost, or seperated from their mom when they are young.
Pinnipeds, the seals and sea lions, often come to shore as part of their normal life history. Seals and sea lions will come ashore to rest, molt, and give birth. If you see a seal or sea lion on shore, it may not be stranded, it could simply be warming up in the sun. If you think the animal looks like it may be ill, entangled, or is a very young/small animal that may be separated it is best to REPORT the animal to the stranding network and a trained volunteer will evalute the animal to determine if it should be brought in for rehabilitation.
Whales, dolphins, and porpoises (the cetaceans) also strand however if you see one on shore, it is always a stranding as these animals do not come to shore as part of their normal life history. If you see a whale, dolphin, or porpoise on the beach please REPORT this animal to the stranding network.
Whales, dolphins, and porpoises may strand because they are sick, died at sea and have washed ashore, lost, or are seperated from their mother if they are a dependant calf. Many times, the cause of a stranding may not be determined but by reporting the animal, stranding staff and researches have the best chance to determine why the animal stranded and help us learn more about the populations of these animals.