Capstone Title

An Analysis and the Effectiveness of the Current Rescue and Rehabilitation Techniques for Live Stranded Cetaceans

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Keith Ronald

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney


Live strandings of cetaceans have been of public and scientific interest for centuries. Recently the focus of interest has been on efforts to save stranded cetaceans and return them to their natural habitat. These efforts have met with varying degrees of success. In this paper the current techniques for rescue and rehabilitation for live stranded cetaceans including refloatation methods, transportation, rehabilitation at long term care facility and euthanasia are reviewed, also current stranding theories are reviewed. The effectiveness of these various techniques is discussed. From a survey of concerned scientists and stranding network personnel, it was determined that 32% of live stranded cetaceans reported in the survey were transported to rehabilitation facilities, and of those transported, 24% were released. Seventy five percent of cetaceans in rehabilitation facilities died. Post refloatation /release data were not available.

Suggestions for better management of these events are given. These include: standardization of procedures, training of volunteers, regional databases for volunteers and in-kind donators, public awareness and education, tagging, scientific study, and an international stranding database and cooperative interaction.

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