You never know when you may encounter marine mammals in trouble. Whether they are beached or not, use the tips below to ensure both your safety and the safety of the animals in need.
1. Do not touch, pick up or feed the animal. If beached, don’t return it to water.
2. Observe the animal from a distance of at least 50 feet. Keep people and dogs away.
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3. Note physical characteristics such as size, the presence of external ears and fur color.
4. Note the animal’s condition. Is it weak or skinny? Does it have any open wounds?
5. Look for any obvious identification tags or markings.
6. Determine the animal’s exact location for accurate reporting.
7. Call the local emergency hotline with as much information as you have. Visit nmfs.noaa.gov to find the number for your local emergency hotline.
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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Fall 2015 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.