Reporting Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Strandings in Maryland
Maryland provides a crucial hotline for reporting stranded marine mammals and sea turtles, operational 24 hours a day. The state's dedicated number, 800-628-9944, is the go-to contact for reporting any stranded marine life, whether alive or deceased. This includes a wide range of species such as manatees, dolphins, whales, porpoises, and seals. For those outside Maryland, there are specific numbers to dial depending on the situation: for live animals, the National Aquarium Animal Program can be reached at 410-373-0083, while reports of dead animals should be directed to the Department of Natural Resources Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Program at 443-758-6607, either through a call or text with the location and description of the animal.
It's imperative to remember that marine mammals and sea turtles are safeguarded under both federal and state legislation. These laws prohibit touching, harassing, feeding, or handling both live and deceased marine animals, with penalties for violations including fines up to $50,000, imprisonment, and potential confiscation of vessels.
When reporting a stranded animal, it's important to provide as much detail as possible. This includes the exact location, preferably with latitude and longitude, and a thorough description of the surroundings and any notable landmarks. Observations regarding the animal's length, size, color, distinctive body parts, and any observed movements are also valuable. Additionally, if possible, take photographs of the animal to aid in its identification and assessment by rescue teams.