New Orleans,
10:05 AM

Audubon Aquarium Rescue Helps Stranded Marine Animals

Spring and summer mean people are spending more time outside and enjoying Louisiana’s waterways and beaches. Audubon Nature Institute wants to remind you to keep an eye out for sea turtles, dolphins, and other marine mammals who may need help. They have a team of experts trained and ready to respond to reports of stranded or injured marine mammals or sea turtles. Stranded can mean animals that are injured, trapped, or are deceased.

Audubon Aquarium Rescue is NOAA Fisheries’ primary stranding network response partner for marine mammals and sea turtles in Louisiana and they depend on the public to share information if they see an animal in distress.

“Marine mammals and sea turtles can be injured by many things including accidental boat strikes, becoming entangled in debris, and even sudden changes in water temperature or storms,” said John Fallon, Director of Sustainability and Coastal Conservation for Audubon Nature Institute. “We want to rescue and rehabilitate as many of these animals as possible and release them back into Louisiana waters.”

Fallon says no year is the same, but March through June is typically when most strandings occur in Louisiana. There are 7,721 miles of coastline in Louisiana, so Audubon has team members located throughout the state during the next few months to help ensure a rapid response time to reports of injured or dead sea turtles and dolphins.

“In the past five years, Audubon Aquarium Rescue has fielded an average of 78 reports of stranded or injured animals,” said Gabriella Harlamert, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding and Rehabilitation Coordinator for Audubon Aquarium Rescue. “While notifying us of injured animals is important, we also need to know about animals found deceased. Those animals can provide a snapshot into the health of the overall marine environment and give us a better understanding of threats these animals face.”

If you spot stranded, injured, or out-of-habitat marine mammals and sea turtles (live or dead), call Audubon Aquarium Rescue at 


When reporting strandings, be prepared to give:

·           Exact location and/or GPS coordinates

·           Photographs of the animal

·           Nature of the report (type of animal/live or dead/size, etc.)

Recommendations when reporting a live stranded animal include:

·           Put human safety above animal safety. If conditions are dangerous, do not attempt to approach the animal.

·           Do not push an animal on shore back into the water.

·           Keep crowds away and noise levels down to avoid causing stress to the animal.

·           If the animal returns to the water on its own, do not attempt to interact with it.

·           Leave all entanglements that may be present on the animal.

Audubon Aquarium Rescue is committed to the humane care and treatment of injured, ill, or displaced marine animals in Louisiana and is the only entity in the state responsible for the rehabilitation of live marine mammals and sea turtles.


Marine mammal rescue activities permitted under MMPA Permit No. 24359

Marine mammal activities conducted under a stranding agreement between Audubon Nature Institute and NMFS under the MMPA