Report strandings and sightings

If you are lucky, you may get to enjoy the fantastic sight of bottlenose or common dolphins or a grey seal swimming in the sea around the Rame Peninsula. 

Seals can be individually identified by their unique fur patterns. If you see a seal, please try to get a photograph of it and send it to Sue Sayer at the Cornwall Seal Group on This very useful information will feed into the growing understanding of Cornwall's seal population. Some of these animals move quite regularly between Cornwall, Ireland and France, for example.

If you find a dolphin, seal, or other marine creature that has been stranded on the beach please take action immediately. 

Is it dead? Call the 24-hour Cornwall Wildlife Trust strandings hotline on: 0345 201 2626

Trained volunteers will come out to record details about it. If the animal has only recently died it could be taken away for post mortem. 

Common causes of death and stranding among sea mammals include entanglement in nets, attack by bottlenose dolphins (particularly among porpoises), starvation, infectious diseases, parasites, and boat propeller injuries (seals).

Several members of the RPBC team are trained CWT strandings recorders.    

Is it alive?

If the animal is a sea mammal (whale, dolphin, porpoise or seal), please call British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546, noting the place, the state of the tide and any injuries you can see without getting close. 

A trained emergency response team and vet will be sent to assess the animal and, if possible, stabilise it and return it to the sea. Do not attempt to approach or touch the animal yourself. Seals can give a very nasty bite, and all marine mammals can carry diseases that can be spread to humans.

Try to prevent other members of the public and dogs from approaching the animal until the response team has arrived.

Sadly, in many cases stranded animals cannot be returned to the sea. They often strand due to underlying health complications. If a decision is taken that the animal will not survive, it will be humanely euthanized to prevent further suffering.

Several members of the RPBC team are trained BDMLR marine mammal medics.


All information is extremely important as it helps to build up a better picture about threats to the marine environment – and could help to influence policy and improve protection for sea creatures.