STRANDED MARINE MAMMALS SHOULD BE DEALT WITH BY A QUALIFIED ORGANIZATION AND TRAINED SPECIALISTS WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE HEALTH RISKS AND SCIENTIFIC CONSIDERATIONS INVOLVED.

 

 In all cases, please immediately contact:

  • In Italy:
    • the Port authorities concerned
    • or the marine emergency number: 1530

 

Give accurate information

  • Whether the animal is dead or alive
  • The species of marine mammal, or a description of it if you don’t know, or if the carcass is in an advanced state of decomposition
  • The number of individuals stranded
  • The location – be as specific as you can (GPS position if possible, if not, identify the location from the general area and place name then in relation to roads, pathways, beach entry points, distance from landmarks etc.).

 

Dead animals that have been stranded

  • Do not touch or move the animal under any circumstances, even if the carcass is in good condition – avoid any risk of transmissible disease or illness
  • Alert the authorities 

 

Stranded animals that are still alive

  • Do not move the animal – avoid injuring it
  • Do no not climb on
  • Remember that a wild animal in distress will seek to defend itself (biting, sudden movements etc.)
  • EAvoid large crowds building up – the animal will be alarmed by noise and agitation
  • Do not attempt to return the animal to the water without the assistance of a network correspondent
  • Protect the animal from sunlight using a beach umbrella
  • Protect the animal from becoming too dry (dehydration) by covering it with a wet cloth, making sure that you do not block its blowhole that allows it to breathe
  • Dig the sand out from beneath the animal to help it breathe and to protect it from suffocating under its own weight


Risks associated with moving stranded cetaceans, whether dead or alive

  • Risk of injury (sudden tail movements, biting etc.), falls or cuts
  • Risk of infection (Vibrio sp. Poxvirus)
  • Brucella maris, recently discovered and found to be potentially contagious to humans in laboratory environments, is routinely found in the spleens of stranded animals
  • Autopsies also present a risk for health (‘swine erysipelas’ caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae)