Cetacean strandings project

The Natural History Museum's scientists have been monitoring whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings for almost 100 years. In that time over 14,000 animals have been reported to us, giving us a unique insight into these amazing animals.

What is the Cetacean strandings project?

Type C Orcas

Mother-calf pair of "Type C" killer whales in the Ross Sea. © http://www.usap.gov

Museum scientists continue to gather information on all whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings along the English coast.

When a whale, dolphin or porpoise stranding is reported to us we find out

  • where and when they stranded
  • their species and gender
  • how and (if possible) why they died

We also collect data, samples and post-mortem information. The data is used to analyse the causes of cetacean strandings, feeding strategies, seasonal distribution and potential threats to cetacean populations.

The Museum’s strandings project, is part of the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) a co-ordinated investigation across the UK.

  • 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 stranding team.

Bottlenose Dolphin
How to report a stranding

What would you do if you found a stranded whale on your local beach ? Find out more about how you can help by reporting a stranding.

How to report a stranding

Contact us

Cetacean strandings project 

Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road,
London, SW7 5BD, UK.

Tel: 0207 942 5155 
Email us


UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) is been funded by