Coast KZN


Stranded Animal

Injured or dead marine animals found on the beach should not be handled by the public. There are generally different rules for each animal but the most important rule is that the law does not allow for members of the public to transport any animal. It is imperative that the authorities are contacted immediately.

KZN Marine Stranding Network:

The KZN Marine Stranding Network comprises of a team of professionals, from various organisations, that offer their knowledge and resources to assist with marine strandings along the KZN coast.

What to do if you find a marine stranded animal?

In every situation the relevant authorities should be contacted immediately. The authorities require accurate information about the animal for a successful rescue to take place. As a member of the public, you can assist by giving the following information over the phone:

  1. Exact location and directions to the location if it is a remote area.

  2. Photos. A picture can give the authorities vital information about the animals’ health, their location and their body language.

  3. Injuries to the animal. (Please Note: Reporting dead animals are also necessary as it has important research value)

  4. Behaviour and condition of animal (alive, dead, injured).

  5. The time, date and any other relevant information of when the animal was first found.

Recorded Animal Strandings in KZN:

  • whales, dolphins, whale sharks

  • seals

  • penguins, coastal birds

  • turtles

Who to contact?


Contact Details       Stranded Animals 
uShaka Sea World 031 328 8222 (o/h)
031 328 8060 (a/h)
Dolphins, whales, seals, penguins, turtles
KZN Sharks Board 031 566 0400  Whale & dolphin entanglements and whale sharks
CROW 031 462 1127 (o/h)
031 469 0583 (o/h)
083 212 5281 (a/h)
Sea birds (except penguins) between Umkomaas to northern KZN regions
 SCAR 083 246 6765 Sea birds (excluding penguins) from Umkomaas to southern KZN regions

Do’s and Don'ts


  • Control crowds, pets and children – marine animals are extremely vigilant and having noise and being able to see movement stresses them out.

  • In the case of dolphins and small whales, place towels over their bodies and keep the towels wet (NEVER cover the blowhole or pour water into it.

  • Create shade, place a gazebo over the animal if possible.

  • Do not handle or touch the animal unnecessarily – these animals are not familiar with people; stroking and patting them does not soothe them, it stresses them out.

  • In the case of seals, do not approach them unnecessarily. They are skittish and the water is their place of safety but they are on the beach because they need to be out of the water. Chasing them back into the water may cause them to drown.

  • In the case of dolphins and whales, turn animal onto their tummy and dig holes for their flippers so their flippers are not at an awkward angle and to prevemt any damage to internal organs.

  • In the case of penguins, the animal may be placed in a well ventilated, box and left in a shaded quiet place until rescue teams arrive.



  • Don’t place animal back into the sea or into any water – they will drown.

  • Don’t move the animal unnecessarily.

  • Don’t allow people to take selfies and create unnecessary noise.

  • Don’t pour water into the blow hole.

  • Don't cover the eyes or blow hole.

  • Don’t feed or hydrate an animal.

  • Don’t place wet towels onto birds, seals or turtles.

  • Don’t drive on the beach to rescue an animal.

  • Don’t place a turtle on its back.

  • Don’t take the animal home, they require specialist care.

  • Don’t apply sun block to any animal skin.

  • Do not attempt to remove fishing gut or hooks from any animal, you may cause more damage.

"No person shall, except on the authority of a permit: kill, or attempt to kill, fish for or harass; feed, keep or control; be in possession of any part of, or a product made from; dolphins, whales, turtles, whale sharks, penguins and seals."

(Excerpt from the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998)

Additional Documents:

KZN Guidelines for Marine Carcass Disposal

Marine Carcass Disposal Protocol

First Response for Stranded Marine Animals in KZN

Stranded Marine Animals - How to Help Booklet

Regulations for boat based whale watching and protection of turtles

Marine Living Resources Act (1998)

Additional Information

For more information see "Whales and Dolphins" under Coastal and Marine Species (page 75)

Coastal and Marine Species