Stranded whales, dolphins and porpoises

The Museum has been monitoring whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings in the UK since 1913. More than 14,000 animals have been reported to us, giving us a unique insight into their lifestyle and the threats they face.

If you find a stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise, you can get involved by recording some important details that will help us learn more about our marine mammals.

I've found a stranded whale - what should I do? 

If you find a living whale, dolphin or porpoise please report it to the RSPCA, SSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue.  

Humpback whale How do I report a stranding?

If you find a dead whale, dolphin or porpoise on the English or Welsh coastline please report it to the local coast guard and the Museum's strandings team.

Find out more

Contact us

Cetacean strandings project 

Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Tel: 0207 942 5155 
Email us


All whales, dolphins and porpoises are cetaceans. The name comes from the Latin cetus, meaning 'large sea animal'. Cetaceans are marine mammals.

A sea creature washed up on a beach or river bank that can't get back out to sea becomes known as a stranding. Animals may wash up already dead, or die as a result of becoming stranded.