Dead or Distressed Marine Mammals
Reporting a Dead Marine Mammal

What Can You Do?

Look, but approach with care. The animal may still be alive, making the actions you take extremely important. Why

Use caution if you choose to touch a dead marine mammal. Marine mammals sometimes carry diseases which can be passed to humans and pets. Also, be aware that if the marine mammal you see is listed under the Endangered Species Act as either Endangered or Threatened, it is illegal for you to take anything from the carcass unless you are an Alaska Native using the parts for subsistence or handicraft. For more information, visit the NOAA Fisheries website about purchasing, finding or possessing marine mammal parts.

Gather Information then Call

Before calling the authorities, first gather the following types of information:

  • Several photographs of the animal from a safe distance
  • Geographical location of the animal
  • Whether it is still in the water or up on the beach
  • Any signs of injuries or abnormalities?
  • Is the animal alone or with others?
  • How long have you been able to watch it?

Who to Call Depends on the Species

If the distressed animal is a sea otter, walrus, or polar bear, contact the following:

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage; 1-800-362-5148 (24 hrs)
  • Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward; 1-888-774-7325 (24 hrs)
  • Or visit the USFWS Strandings page.

For all whales, seals, and sea lions, contact:

If you observe harassment of marine mammals, call NMFS Nationwide Law Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 (24 hrs).

For Alaska Department of Fish and Game contacts see How ADF&G Assists.