The Namibian Dolphin Project | Strandings Network

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Strandings Network, Report sightings to the Namibian Strandings Network

Stranded whales, dolphins and turtles are extremely valuable to science and we are interested in all records. The Namibian strandings network also helps coordinate rescue of live stranded animals.

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Namibian Stranding Network contact numbers

Strandings hotline: 081 687 6461

Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources – Swakopmund (NATMIRC):+264 64 410 1000

Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources – Luderitz: +264 63 202 415

Namibia is home to at approximately 32 species of whales and dolphins (but no porpoises!). The information available for most of these species along the Namibian coast is scanty, and its waters are virtually unexplored when it comes to many ecological and natural history questions regarding whales and dolphins. When cetaceans wash ashore, dead or alive, they potentiall provide a valuable way to better understand, these species and the marine environment they use.. Of course, if the animal is still alive, the priority is to assess if refloating and rescuing it is a viable option. However, carcasses ashore can be the source of precious information, and ultimately could reveal the cause of death. Animals die of natural causes all the time, generally old age, disease or predation; however, in today’s world, animals often perish because of human activities and finding out more about the cause of death in these circumstances can help limit future impacts and improve management strategies.

In Walvis Bay, there was for many years there has been an informal group of people interested in returning cetaceans to the ocean whenever possible. In 2008, when the Namibian Dolphin Project started we took the opportunity to co-ordinate this group into a more formal network which has become the Namibian Strandings Network, collaborating with the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, NACOMA and CETN amongst others. The network is centred around Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, as many strandings seem to occur in this area, but we are interested in events along the entire Namibian coast. The NSN provides training, equipment and support to local groups along the coast, in order to co-ordinate rescue attempts and collect data.  We have run two sets of strandings workshops. Ruth Leeney ran the initial workshops in 2010 with support from the Walvis Bay Municipality and in 2015 – Daniela Maldini ran a series of 4 workshops in at the University of Namibia Henties Bay campus, Swakopmund Museum of Natural History, Ministry of Fisheries NATMIRC in Swakopmund, and one in Walvis Bay at the WB Yacht Club. Over 50 people attended these along the coast and the network has been reinvigorated and also united under a new logo.

If you would like to be a part of this growing group of people that are interested in working together to increase the effectiveness of the response to cetacean, sea turtles and marine megafauna strandings along the Namibian coastline please contact us at

Please contact us through nam . dolphin . project @ gmail . com  [take out the spaces] or on the Hotline number below

What to do if you find a LIVE stranded whale or dolphin:

  • Do not touch the animal
  • Cover the body with a towel or blanket to prevent sunburn. Keep the blowhole (1 or 2 holes on the top of the head, the animal’s ‘nostrils’) uncovered.
  • Keep the animal wet using fresh or saltwater
  • Keep noise to a minimum and keep crowds away from the animal
  • Call the Strandings Network hotline or one of the contact numbers. These numbers are also marked on signs along the coast.

We also collect information from dead stranded whales, dolphins and turtles, so if you find a stranded carcass on the beach, please contact the Strandings Network. It would also be useful to note:

  • Where the carcass is
  • What length it is
  • What condition it is in – fresh, slightly decomposed, very decomposed or skeleton only
  • Take photos if you can, and email them to us. Photos from several angles, and close-ups of the head, fins and tail are especially useful

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