How to Care for a Beached Animal

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Call for help.,
Approach with care.,
Apply zinc oxide-based sunscreen when possible.,
Keep the animal cool.,
Stay focused on helping the animal.,
Wash your hands after touching a marine animal.This will minimize the spread of illnesses from the animal to you.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains a network of volunteers and professionals to respond in cases of stranding.Alert local law enforcement as well.Do your best to keep the crowds away.

Lifeguards might also be qualified to help a beached animal.Bring the situation to the attention of nearby lifeguards, if any are present.
Contact the stranding network near you by searching the NOAA database at http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pr/health/report.htm.;
, Marine animals can be dangerous for many reasons. Sharks and dolphins have sharp teeth which can easily hurt you. Dolphins and whales may thrash about unpredictably while beached, and their powerful tails and snouts may cause injury.Marine animals also carry diseases which can transfer to humans. For these reasons, you should always keep at least 150 feet away from beached animals unless specifically instructed to do otherwise by a trained professional.Do not allow children or pets near beached marine animals. This can add undue stress to the animal.
If a trained professional requests your aid, remove watches and jewelry which might damage the animal’s skin before approaching., Slather the sunscreen across the skin of dolphins. Be careful not to get any in the blowhole. Zinc oxide can also be smeared around the blowhole of whales to keep it clear.Since dolphins and whales are not usually exposed directly to the sun for long periods, they will need the protective coating that zinc oxide provides. Do not apply suntan oil or other lotions to the animal.Do not use zinc oxide on sharks.

, Splash water over its skin and apply wet t-shirts or towels to it. Do not cover the animal’s dorsal fin, pectoral flippers, or flukes. Cut a slit in a wet t-shirt and ease the fin, fluke, or flipper through the slit so that the fabric rests on the animal’s body, not the fin.

Wrap ice packs in a cloth or t-shirt and apply them to the fins and tail. Do not apply ice directly to the animal’s skin.
Use an umbrella or tarp to keep the animal in shade.
Do not get water in the blowhole., For instance, do not take pictures with a whale or dolphin.Dolphins and whales dehydrate quickly when out of water and should be returned as soon as possible. Spending time taking personal pictures or inviting others to pet the animal will minimize the time spent helping it, cause the animal to feel stressed, and put other people at risk.

Taking pictures of beached animals for scientific purposes is encouraged, but it should be done with care from a safe distance.Pictures of a beached animal’s location, tags, lesions, wounds, and other signs of human interaction like entangled fishing nets should be photographed.

, Take a shower if you leaned against the animal with your body or legs.

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