In September 2007, two Blue Whales were killed by ship strikes off the California Coast and their bodies stranded in Ventura County. Though unfortunate, these strandings became memorable and unique learning opportunities for so many people – scientists, reporters, tourists, teachers, parents, and children. From all walks of life, people learned more about this magnificent creature, the natural world, and their role in it.
The life of these Blue Whales have ended, but they have left us a learning legacy, so the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History offers this online porthole as worldwide community resource for all to learn about our natural world.
As a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the Museum is responsible for conducting necropsies for strandings in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. The Museum is responsible for reporting dead cetacean (whales and dolphins) and sea otter strandings in the Tri-county area.
MARINE MAMMAL STRANDING NETWORK
Marine mammals strand for various reasons including biotoxins, illness, separation from mother, entanglement in fishing gear, injury, and natural causes.
Marine mammals are protected by federal law. It is illegal for unauthorized person to disturb, handle or feed them. It is also illegal to collect, possess or obtain parts of marine mammals from dead strandings.
To respond to marine mammal strandings, volunteer stranding networks were established in all coastal states and are authorized through Letters of Authority from the NMFS regional offices. Through a National Coordinator and five regional coordinators, NMFS oversees, coordinates, and authorizes these activities and provides training to personnel. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is responsible for dead strandings of whales, dolphins and sea otters.
What should you do?
- Immediately call the proper agency.
- Only observe from a distance.
- Do not approach, touch, or move the animal. Stranded marine mammals are WILD animals; they do bite and may carry diseases. Please do not add to their stress.
Who to call?
- Dead Whales, Dolphins, Sea Otters
Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties
Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit (CICRU)
- Live Beached Marine Mammals
Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center
- Ventura County
Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute
- San Luis Obispo County
The Marine Mammal Center