Taylor County Marine Mammals Stranding Network
Florida has a broad marine mammals stranding network; however some counties in the Big Bend area were lacking a response group. The University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in partnership with IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station and Cedar Key Dolphin Project started in 2017 a stranding network along the coasts of Levy, Dixie, and Taylor counties. After an invitation of the UF Aquatic Animal Health, volunteers came together to create the Taylor County Marine Mammals Stranding Network.
The purpose of the stranding network is to rescue and respond to sick, injured, and deceased marine mammals. The health of marine mammals can tell us a lot of information about the health of their ecosystems, our coastlines, and the Gulf.
From training to real response
On June 29th, 2017 the network received a call informing about a stranded whale in Hagen’s Cove, a beach area between Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach. The volunteer group immediately responded providing the most accurate information about the animal with the UF vet specialist in Gainesville who prepared and gave instructions on how to proceed.
What to do?
f you see a dead or injured marine mammal call:
- FWC WILDLIFE ALERT HOTLINE 1-888-407-3922
- Call or text the UF MARINE ANIMAL RESCUE HOTLINE 352-477-0344.
Both numbers are 24/7. You’ll need to inform:
- Your name and call back number
- Your location (address, GPS or waterway marker)
- The marine animal involved (dolphin, whale, manatee, sea turtle)
- How many animals are involved
- Are there animals alive, dead, in distress, injured
Remember not to push the animal out, remain calm and keep a safe distance from the animal. If possible take and share pictures and videos with the emergency hotlines.
If you would like to enroll as a volunteer in the Taylor County Marine Mammals Stranding Network, please contact the Taylor County Marine Extension Agent.