Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme

For centuries, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have regularly stranded around the coasts of the UK.  The underlying causes of these stranding events are not always clear and the role that human activity may play in either directly or indirectly causing single or mass strandings remains controversial.

Information generated on stranded animals can provide a picture of what species are found in UK waters and in many cases a broad assessment can be made on likely cause of death.

Strandings that undergo post-mortem examination can also provide unique insight into causes of death, diseases, environmental contaminant levels, reproductive patterns, diet and other aspects of the general health of cetacean populations in the seas around our coasts that are largely unavailable by other methods. This provides important baseline data to help detect any future outbreaks of disease, unusual mortality events or responses to environmental change (e.g. climate change).

Find out more about the project.

Strandings Database

Stranding map

Search by year or species to view data for all cetacean, marine turtle and basking shark strandings around the UK coast.

Stranding Hotline

Stranded whales

How to report a stranded marine animal, whether it is dead or alive, plus guidance on how to act and what to look for.

Corkscrew Seal Lesions

Seal lesion

Pathological findings of corkscrew-shaped wounds found on five harbour seals.

Marine Animal Strandings

If you find a DEAD, stranded marine animal please call 01463 243030 or 07979 245893. Rescue for LIVE strandings can be called 24 hours a day through: Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline (03000 999 999) or British Divers Marine Life Rescue (01825 765546).

Telephone: 01463 243030

E-mail: stranding@sac.co.uk