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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

Best practice in rescue

Finding a live stranded dolphin or whale on the shore is always an unexpected and deeply emotional experience. There is little that can prepare you for it. Largely without government funding, the rescue of dolphins and whales is generally undertaken by passionate volunteers. Hopefully a veterinarian with experience of marine species will oversee the rescue, sometimes marine mammal scientists are involved and often local communities assist.

What we learn about how best to rescue those individuals that are deemed healthy enough to be returned to the sea, we learn from each other and from experience. In 2013, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and WDC organised the European Cetacean Society Best Practice in Rescue workshop, with contributions from vets and others with extensive marine mammal rescue expertise from throughout Europe and the US, to benefit from our collective knowledge.

I have attended many, many strandings over the years. Each stranding is unique, yet I have found every one similarly shocking and emotional. How can finding a dolphin or whale out of the sea and lying on the beach in front of you be anything else? I’m sad to say that none of those stranded whales and dolphins have survived and so I have not yet had the opportunity to be involved in a rescue attempt. When that day comes, I will feel better prepared because of the experiences that those who have been there before me have shared.  

If you find a stranded dolphin or whale, please contact your local rescue network so that the appropriate veterinary advice can be provided and the best care and support given.