How to report a stranding

Please fill out our form

If you have found a dead whale, dolphin or porpoise on the English coastline it would be really helpful if you could report the stranding to the Museum's stranding team by filling out the Museum's stranding form below and returning it to us by post or by email.

Whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings form PDF (244.9 KB)

Helpful hints 

A few tips for gathering information about a stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise.


These are really important as they give us a definite identification. 
Please take photos 

  • 1 full length
  • 1 head shoot
  • 1 of the genitalia region (so we can have definite gender identification) 
  • any unusual marks

If you can’t go back to measure it, an estimation is better than nothing.


Please see guide


Please provide the

  • name of beach
  • name of county 
  • grid reference 

Find a grid reference

If the animal is still fresh check to see if it is in a position where it could be retrieved by the museum for a post-mortem


If no photo is available, we will need the following information to help us identify the animal:

  • description of the animals head, beak, swollen forehead
  • did it have teeth or baleen?
  • were the teeth needle or spade shaped?
  • colour of the skin, including any white patches or stripes
  • the state of decomposition, fresh, moderately decomposed or very decomposed
  • Parasites and vectors

    Scientists in the division are studying the organisms that transmit parasites and vectors to humans and animals.

  • Ornithoptera priamus, birdwing butterfly
    Terrestrial invertebrates

    Curators, researchers and students are conserving the Museum's vast insect collection, collecting and identifying new species and utilizing the collections for cutting edge entomological research.

  • Solanum phoxocarpum

    Our scientists study a wide variety of plants, including bryophytes, ferns and flowering plants.

I have found a stranded whale what shall I do? 

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

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

Live strandings

If you find a live stranded marine animal, please contact the following authorities:

England & Wales  

Tel: 0300 1234999
British Divers Marine Life Rescue 
Tel:01825 765546


Tel:0131 3390111

Dead strandings

If you find dead stranded marine animal, please contact:

England (cetaceans) 

Natural History Museum  
Tel: 0207 942 5155 
Email us

England (seals and turtles) 

Zoological Society of London 
Tel:0207 4496672

Wales (all species)

Marine Environmental Monitoring 
Tel:01348 875000 

Scotland (all species)

SAC Veterinary Services
Tel: 01463 243030 
Tel: 07979 245893 (out of hours)


Cornish Wildlife Trust Strandings Network
Tel: 0845 2012626