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Stranding Observer Guidelines

Please note the following details:

When: Date you examined the animal, and when it was first observed

Where: The exact location of the animal. What is the closest street? Milepost number? Landmarks? Beach access? Keep in mind how a responder will get to the animal, and what would be required to remove the animal from the beach if necessary. Will responder have to drive or walk, and how long/far? Is cliff diving or marathon stair climbing involved? What is the tide doing?

Size: Approximate total length and weight of the animal

Appearance: Color, and pattern (solid or spotted?) of coat or skin, and color of whiskers

Type of Animal: Cetacean or pinniped? Seal (wriggles on belly, no ear flaps) or sea lion? (walks with back and front flippers, has ear flaps).

Sounds: Is it making any noises? (California sea lions bark, Steller sea lions growl and roar, and elephant seals make “hairball” noises).

Tags: Does the animal have any tags or brands, and if so, location, number and color? Try to read tag numbers from a safe distance with binoculars.

Condition: Alive or dead? Plump, thin, emaciated? Does it appear sick, lethargic, healthy, alert, active? How do the eyes look? Are wounds healed, raw or dripping blood? If the animal is dead, does it seem fresh? Decomposed? Is the skin sloughing off? Is there a strong odor? Are the eyes intact?

How: Any obvious signs of death or injury? Net entanglement (If the net is still there, please describe it or collect a sample.)? puncture wounds? Suspected gunshot?

Photos: A picture is worth a thousand words; please photograph if possible. Digital cameras are very useful. Disposable cameras are handy to keep in the car or with a stranding kit/backpack.

Safety: Are people interacting with the animal? Are dogs near the animal? Is the animal a threat to people?

To report stranded animals, 24/7, call the Oregon State Police at 800-452-7888.

For network information, please contact:
Jim Rice, Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network Coordinator
Office 541 867 0446 Mon-Fri
Cell 541-270-6830
E-mail: jim.rice@oregonstate.edu