The Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue Team responds to and protects marine animals that are stranded on New Hampshire's beaches and coast.
Ocean education is what we do. We want everyone to understand that the things that people do every day have an impact on the health of the ocean and that ocean health impacts their daily lives. We educate to motivate because a healthy ocean drives the quality of life for future generations.
The Seacoast Science Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team rescues stranded, injured and diseased seals, whales, porpoises, and dolphins in New Hampshire's coastal region.
All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, enacted by the federal government on October 21, 1972. Fulfilling this requirement, the Center's Marine Mammal Rescue Team staffs a 24/7 hotline (603-997-9448) and deploys first responders. Collaborating with the New England Aquarium, National Marine Life Center in Buzzard's Bay, MA and Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT, the Center leads the rescues; the New England Aquarium conducts the necropsy and pathology, and National Marine Life Center and Mystic Aquarium manages rehabilitation and release.
What should you do if you spot a seal or other marine mammal on a beach?
• Watch quietly from at least 150 feet away
• Keep dogs away from the animal
• Do not offer the animal food or water
• Do not pour water on the animal
• Do not cover the animal with a towel or blanket
• Do not try to move the animal
• Call 603-997-9448 and report the animal’s location, size, coloring, and behavior
Unlike whales or dolphins, seals are semi-aquatic and are comfortable out of the water. Most seals haul out onto beaches to sleep, nurse, or to soak up the sun. Seals are cute, but they are wild animals and should not be disturbed. By getting too close, you disturb the seal and could provoke it to bite.
It is illegal to disturb any marine mammal. People who harass or disturb them are subject to civil and criminal penalties.
Why is it important to respond to every seal that hauls out onto a beach or stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise?
• To protect the public’s health and safety by properly managing sick or dead animals
• To protect the health of stranded animals by reducing harmful human interactions
• To advance marine mammal biology and ecology research by maintaining continuous data flow into the national database
The Seacoast Science Center offers programs for schools and groups, educational and entertainment events, site rental, and mission-related items in its Nature Store.