The San Juan Islands Marine Mammal Stranding Network began operating as a program of The Whale Museum in 1981. It operates under the auspices of the National Marine Fisheries Service through a Stranding Agreement which allows responders to investigate, collect data and potentially handle live and dead marine mammals that come ashore.
Most of our live strandings involve harbor seal pups (see link to "Harbor seals" below). When appropriate, some live animals are transported to Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Dead animals in fresh condition are studied through necropsies conducted at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs by scientists from The Whale Museum and the SeaDoc Society.
Since 2002, the Network has been largely funded by the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. The NW Regional office in Seattle recently compiled statistics on all the strandings networks operating in Washington and Oregon. Click here to link to this interesting report containing broad information on the NW Regional efforts as well as specific information related to the San Juan Islands.
By working with local residents and visitors to the San Juan Islands who, by circumstance, encounter a dead or injured marine mammal, we are providing a long-lasting educational experience that builds a stewardship ethic in those it touches. As research, it provides an invaluable scientific monitor on the health of the San Juan Islands' marine mammal population and the ecosystem that supports it.
Visit these archived news stories about the Marine Mammal Stranding Network:
- The Story of Sooke (L-112)
- Dall's/Harbor porpoise hybrid
- Steller sea lions
- Harbor seals
- Fin whale necropsy
- Carcass of fin whale sunk in San Juans
To report sightings or strandings, call the Hotline (800) 562-8832 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also use this email address if you would like to become a volunteer of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.