There is a 24/7 toll free number to report entangled whales for the state of California. 877-SOS-WHALE (877-767-9425) Even though you only need to dial 877-SOS-WHAL, if you dial the whole thing it works. This makes it easy to remember.
A quick synopsis on how the number is used:
Whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals occasionally become entangled in fishing gear, marine debris at sea or stranded in the shallow shoreline waters. National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) has management authority for all marine mammals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. NOAA Fisheries responds to distressed marine mammals through its California Distressed Whale Response Network. Only those authorized and permitted by NOAA Fisheries may take part in a hands-on response. One of the organizations authorized to take part is W.E.T., the Whale Entanglement Teams of Central and Northern California.
The public also plays an important role in a timely response by doing the following:
1. Report any entangled or distressed marine mammal to NOAA Fisheries as soon as possible. A new 24-hour emergency number is available in California to take your call 7 days a week 1-877-SOS-WHALE (1-877-767-9425).
2. Report the following information:
a. Location of the distressed animal
b. Species or description of the animal
c. Approximate size of the animal
d. Condition of the animal (wounded, entangled, bleeding, dead, alive)
e. Location in terms of GPS coordinates
f. Name and contact numbers for the person reporting the incident
What Will Happen:
1. The hotline operator will contact the appropriate NOAA Fisheries representative.
2. NOAA Fisheries will coordinate with the Response Network to provide the appropriate response. The Response Network enlists the help of volunteer veterinarians, biologists, and other agency personnel who have marine mammal experience and other expertise. A successful response and outcome depends upon early receipt of detailed accurate information in order to organize a quick and appropriate response. Public cooperation is essential to the success of any distress response and, ultimately benefits the conservation of our protected marine mammals.
What Not To Do:
1. Never approach an animal in distress. Distressed animals pose risks to human health and safety.
2. Do not allow pets to approach a stranded animal. Canine distemper and other diseases can spread between dogs and marine mammals. Please keep pets on a leash and at a safe distance from animals.