Subject: Re: Whale Question

Tom Ford (
Thu, 12 Dec 96 23:32:50 -0500

>>From Katie Bowe, 7 years old
>If a whale is beached, how do you save it?
>Thank you.

    It can be very difficult to save a beached whale. If a whale has been 
on a beach for a short time, less than a day, and the weather is cool and 
cloudy then it may be possible to save it.  The most important thing to 
do for a beached whale is to keep its skin wet and protected from the 
sun. Whales keep their internal remperature under control by passing heat 
into the water around them. The most important parts to keep really wet 
are the tail flukes , flippers, and dorsal fin. It is helpful to keep all 
of the skin wet but those are the most useful skin areas.

If you and the whale are lucky the stranding happened because the tide 
went out. the problem may be solved when the tide comes back in. If you 
ever find a beached whale immediately call the National Marine Fisheries 
Service. The NMFS has very good communications with volunteer groups that 
form the Stranding Network. these people are organized and trained to 
facilitate the attempted rescue of stranded whales. There are regional 
NMFS offices throughout the country so good extra help can be found 
quickly. Time is very , very important. The longer that these animals are 
out of water the faster they deteriorate. 

Great question, if you need more information please ask me.

                                                     Dr. Tom Ford