Responding to Marine Mammal Strandings

Stranding Network Volunteers



Much of the work of the PTMSC Stranding Network is carried out by a corps of trained volunteers.

measuring seal carcass


When a stranding is reported, a volunteer responder is often sent out to investigate. Photos, measurements, and other information are gathered to help determine is further action is needed.

When an animal is found dead, sometimes responders or staff collect the specimen so that a necropsy (animal autopsy) can be performed. 


seal sitting


Seal Sitters

Harbor seal pups and occasionally seals or sea lions haul out in public places for extended periods. When contact with humans or pets is likely, volunteers serve as Seal Sitters.

Seal Sitters minimize disturbance to the seal by educating the public on why the animal may be hauled out and by keeping people and dogs a safe distance away.



How many marine mammals are reported to PTMSC?

The PTMSC Marine Mammal Stranding Network receives reports from the area from Brinnon to Diamond Pt. WA. View a map of stranding network regions in Washington State.

The graph below shows a record of total reports received from 2008 to 2014 

Total mammals reported

As this graph indicates, harbor seals, shown in red, are the most commonly reported animal in our area. Not all animals reported were actually stranded.

What kinds of marine mammals are reported to PTMSC?

The following graph shows the number of marine mammals stranded during the same years, this time broken down by species.

Marine mammal species reported

In addition to harbor seal strandings, PTMSC staff and volunteers responded to strandings of two sea lion species, two porpoise species and a northern fur seal, an extremely rare species for this area. Other marine mammal species were reported during this time, but were not stranded.

The "Unknown" category refers to marine mammals that were not identified due to lack of information or severe decomposition.

How to Become a Stranding Network Volunteer

To get involved with the PTMSC Marine Mammal Stranding Network, contact our volunteer coordinator at