Anglesey Sea Zoo is part of a rescue network for stranded or sick marine animals, including dolphins, whales, porpoises, seals, turtles and seabirds. The network consists of people and organisations who can respond to a stranding and is being built up around the British Isles by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR). The extra skills held by some of the staff at Anglesey Sea Zoo allow them to also handle seabirds and turtles and to advise on their rescue.
Please note that while we can help coordinate the rescue together with BDMLR, we are NOT a rescue centre and may not have the facilities available to hold injured marine mammals or birds.
If you find a stranded animal, please call BDMLR or the RSPCA first – details below!
Many stranded animals stand a chance of recovery with the right expert care, so calling for professional help quickly is essential if you find a stranded animal.
If you find a marine animal that needs help, call:
Please note that stranded seals may simply need some time to rest and gather their strength before returning to the sea! In most cases the best thing to do is to leave them alone and undisturbed unless the animal is injured or unresponsive.
When you call, please give as many details as possible about the exact position of the animal so that the rescue team can find it as quickly as possible upon arrival. This includes the exact stretch of beach, distance from the tide line, any nearby landmarks and the nearest car park or access point. You will also be asked questions about the animal to establish exactly what species it is.
Until help arrives, the following can be done:
If a stranded marine animal is found on a beach but is already dead, it can be reported to the following organisations:
Dolphins, whales and porpoises all belong to a group of marine mammals known as cetaceans. These all have streamlined bodies and extremely strong tails for efficient propulsion through the water. They breathe air (like other mammals) through a blow hole in the top of their heads, and hold their breath when diving by closing it. These mammals can dive for long periods of time and to very large depths.
Cetaceans use a series of whistles and clicks as echolocation to communicate with other members of their group, and also to navigate and find prey. They are all extremely intelligent and adapted to live in large open stretches of sea in contact with many others. Anglesey Sea Zoo does not keep such creatures in captivity because no aquarium can do justice to their natural habitat.
About twelve species of cetaceans can be seen around the coast of Britain. The harbour porpoise and the bottlenose dolphin are the most commonly spotted around Wales, with the most regular sightings in Cardigan Bay. Whales are seen far less often because of their tendency to stay further off-shore, and to dive deeper for longer periods.
About thirty-five cetaceans strand each year on the coastlines of Britain. The majority tends to be larger whales that have made navigational errors and regularly end up on the shores of northern Scotland. Success in getting these creatures back into the water depends on their reason for stranding. The most common reasons for stranding are illness and navigational mistakes, with mass strandings usually due to a group following one individual to shore. If the animals are healthy, then the prognosis is usually good, particularly if they are not stranded for long.