Citizens Asked to Report Stranded Marine Animals
Boaters and beachgoers are reminded to keep their eyes open for sea turtles and marine mammals while enjoying the outdoors this spring. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources asks anyone who sees a dead, visibly injured, entangled or stranded sea animal to call 1-800-628-9944 immediately. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This time of year, residents on the water are likely to see bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles and maybe even a manatee. Most animals seen in Maryland waters are free swimming, naturally feeding and healthy. Spectators should watch and enjoy the animals at a distance, of at least 150 feet, to keep from disturbing their normal activity. Boaters should turn off their engines if a sea turtle or dolphin swims nearby. Those who would like to report a healthy animal or group of animals may also call the hotline.
In the event someone comes across the remains of a dead sea mammal, DNR reminds them not to touch it. These animals can transfer diseases to not only people, but their pets.
Maryland’s Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Stranding Program has been responding to stranded marine animals for more than 20 years. DNR works with the Marine Animal Rescue Program at The National Aquarium as well as numerous other organizations throughout the State to aid in the recovery of, and response to, stranded marine animals.