Our Commitment

Leaders in Stranding Response, Rescue & Rehabilitation

When marine mammals are in trouble, Alliance-accredited institutions answer the call to help.

When an animal strands due to illness or an environmental crisis such as an oil spill or algae bloom, is injured by a boat-strike or entanglement, or is orphaned, Alliance members often are the first responders. We rescue and then frequently rehabilitate the affected animal. Alliance members also provide their expertise when investigating stranded animal mortalities to better understand and manage the ongoing threats to wild marine mammal populations.

Many accredited members are nationally and internationally recognized leaders in this work. Using their extraordinary body of marine mammal knowledge and experience, gained from working with animals in their facilities, they commit their lives and resources to making the world better for marine mammals. The collective knowledge, experience, and resources of AMMPA facilities have been key factors in thousands of successful rehabilitation efforts.

Our members frequently act as partners and advisors to local, state and federal government agencies, such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Our members also assist fellow zoos and aquariums around the world that need advice about proper handling and care for orphaned or injured wildlife. The goal for every rescued animal is to successfully rehabilitate and return it to the wild. The small percentage of animals with conditions that would prevent them from surviving in the wild are provided life-long and sometimes very specialized care at accredited facilities.

The Alliance supports the voluntary participation of its members in marine animal stranding response, including:

  • rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing stranded marine mammals, sea turtles and birds and providing forever homes to animals deemed non-releasable
  • collecting valuable data from animal mortalities, which is a significant source of information on the threats, natural history and health status of wild populations
  • research with the animals in their facilities that provides valuable information about those species that can help their wild counterparts

According to a recent Alliance survey, our member facilities responded to 5,625 marine mammal strandings over a five-year period, providing rehabilitation to more than 1,900 of the live animals. During the same period, members responded to more than 4,800 sea turtle strandings and 6,000 bird strandings. For these efforts, Alliance members contributed more than $12.2 million in financial support for stranded marine mammals, $2.6 million for sea turtles, and $1.8 million for birds, involving more than 260,000 volunteer hours for stranding response. Collectively, these Alliance member activities make vital contributions to understanding the threats and conservation needs of wild populations of marine animals.