Marine Mammal Strandings:
The Philippine Response
With 28 species of marine mammals occuring in the Philippines, marine mammal strandings are not rare occurences. Read more.
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stranding occurences

Cetacean strandings are quite common around the Philippines. Our team is not only qualified and experienced in responding to cetacean strandings but we also collect and store stranding data around the country. By collecting and analyzing this data we can better understand the causes of these events and hopefully gain a better idea of the status of certain species and populations of cetaceans and the environment they live in.

Check our cetacean strandings database.

What is a stranding?

A stranded animal is an animal that has 'run aground' or 'is in a helpless position.' It is used to describe an animal that has been 'left in a helpless position', such as when a marine mammal ends up ashore weak, sick or lost.

Beaching is a term used to refer to an animal 'cast ashore already dead.'

A single stranding is when one animal strands. A stranding of a mother and calf is considered a single stranding.

A mass stranding refers to the 'simultaneous stranding of two or more cetaceans'.

*Source: Geraci, J.R. and Lounsbury, V.J. 1993. A Field Guide for Strandings. Texas A & M Sea Grant Publication.

What to do when there is a stranding?

If you happen to find a LIVE whale or dolphin stranded or injured on the beach or shallow area, you must act QUICKLY. Send for help immediately. This is an emergency situation and the speed of response of a trained rescue team is crucial.

1. VERIFY the report. Is the animal dead or alive? Where is the exact location? When did it strand?

2. CALL the authorities. Call the nearest BFAR office in your area or WWF-Philippines or trained marine mammal stranding response team.

3. BE PREPARED. For live strandings, act quickly but don't forget to bring the following: cloth/towels, pail/bucket, camera, stranding data sheets, measuring tape.

4. EVALUATE the situation and condition of the animal. Does the animal have any wounds or cuts? Is there any fishing gear or obstruction around the animal making it helpless or unable to return back to its natural environment. Remove any fishing gear or obstruction around the animal.

5. PROVIDE emergency care. Keep animal wet while avoiding getting water in its blowhole. Protect the animal from the sun and heat. If the animal is having difficulty staying afloat and keeping its blowhole above water, assist it.

6. DO NOT pull the animal by its tail or fins. NEVER use a rope to move the animal. NEVER tie the animal.

7. ARRANGE to take action: release, transport, necropsy, specimen and data collection, and photographic documentation.

8. ASK for local assistance.

9. PROVIDE information to the public and media.

10. PROTECT public health and ensure safety. Keep the crowd and unauthorized people away from the animal. While assisting the animal, always stay away from the tail and mouth. Keep your face away from its blowhole.

11. MAINTAIN communications with authorities.

*Source: Geraci, J.R. and Lounsbury, V.J. 1993. A Field Guide for Strandings. Texas A & M Sea Grant Publication.

Click here to download a live animal stranding data sheet or necropsy and specimen data collection sheet.

Click here to see a map of the stranding locations around the Philippines

Burying a dead humpback whale calf that stranded in Claveria, Cagayan.

A stranded Bryde's whale in Batangas.

Locals assisting a stranded dolphin go back out to sea.