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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

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.