Report Animal Strandings

Report an Animal Stranding, Banded or Tagged Animals, Oil Spills, or Unusual Events

Live and dead strandings of marine animals are treated differently and therefore have different contacts.

Please see the list below for the appropriate contact. Tagged animals and seabirds also need to be reported to the proper authorities.

It is important to have the following information ready to report:
  1. Identification or description of animal
    • size, color, etc
    • tag number, color, and location on animal (e.g. left flipper)
  2. Number of animals involved
  3. Condition of animal
    • alive, dead, or injured
  4. Exact location and directions to the stranding site
  5. Names and telephone numbers of people involved
  6. Date and time of your observations

Live-stranded pinnipeds (seals, sea lions), cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), & sea turtles:

Map of live-stranding agencies for the entire California coastline

Dead pinnipeds (seals, sea lions), cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), & sea turtles:

Map of dead-stranding agencies for the entire California coastline

Sea otters live-stranded & dead:                                                                               
E. Kelsey - Southern Sea Otter
  • Northern Santa Cruz County (and North)
    • Live - The Marine Mammal Center: 415-289-7325
    • Dead - CDFW Colleen Young: 831-687-8776
  • Monterey Bay Area (to Big Sur)
  • Big Sur-Cambria
    • Live - CDFW Mike Harris: 805-772-1135
    • Dead - USGS Brian Hatfield: 805-927-3893
  • San Luis Obispo County (and South)
    • Live - The Marine Mammal Center: 805-771-8300
    • Dead - CDFW Mike Harris: 805-772-1135

Live birds or terrestrial mammals (in distress):

Bands & Tags
Banded Birds:
Branded sea lions:
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
    • Robert Delong (Robert.Delong@noaa.gov)
    • Sharon Melin (Sharon.Melin@noaa.gov)
Tagged elephant seals:
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) tag:

Oil spills or hazardous waste

Unusual or suspicious events at beaches
  • California Department of Parks & Recreation
    • Santa Cruz County (north of Pajaro River) District Office: 831-335-6318
    • Monterey County (south of Pajaro River) District Office: 831- 649-2836
    • Beach not part of state park system (e.g. Seascape Resort, Monterey Dunes, Pajaro Dunes)