Stranding Response Program
Marine mammals and sea turtles spend their lives in the ocean, allowing us only brief glimpses into their intriguing world. Unfortunately, these amazing creatures sometimes end up on our beaches, sick, injured or dead.
These events are known as "strandings." They can be due to natural causes, or possibly, human interactions. Stranding events provide a unique opportunity for scientists to examine animals that are otherwise difficult to study in their natural habitats.
Our marine animal Stranding Response Program is part of the Aquarium's Research & Conservation Division. The program is led by a group of trained staff and volunteers, our Stranding Team, who responds to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles along the Virginia coastline and beyond. They work at the Aquarium's Stranding Center in Virginia Beach to rescue and rehabilitate live animals, collect data from dead specimens and support research on stranded marine animals found in Virginia. Most important, through their passion and commitment they serve as environmental ambassadors, educating the public about these magnificent animals and their conservation needs.
Since the program's inception more than 17 years ago, our Stranding Team has responded to more than 1500 marine mammals and over 2200 sea turtles. Averaging more than 200 per year, stranded animals have included harbor and harp seals, harbor porpoises, bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, and loggerhead and Kemp's ridley sea turtles.
Read our 2011 Grant Report.
Our Stranding Response Program is supported by donations from the community, corporations and grant-making organizations. Click here to find out more about making a tax-deductible donation.