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Sea Otters -- Strandings

AKSeaOtter, on rocks; FWS image

Look but don't touch...


It is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to touch a marine mammal without proper authorization*. This protects both you and the animal. Contact with a sea otter, even in an attempt to help it, may place both the rescuer and the animal at greater risk than non-contact would have.

  • To report the stranding of a live or dead marine mammal, contact the following:


    Sea Otters
      Washington 1-877-326-8837 (1-87-sea-otter)

    Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward (1-888-774-7325, 24 hrs.); or
    USFWS Marine Mammals Management Office in Anchorage

    (1-800-362-5148, business hours)

      California U.S. Geological Survey (1-805-927-3893)
    Whales, Seals, and Sea Lions
      Washington and
    National Marine Fisheries Service (1-866-767-6114)


    *Animals can only be picked up by an authorized individual. If a biologist from the Stranding Network is not available to respond to the scene then, as a last resort, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can verbally authorize someone to pick the animal up. However, this would be a one-time authorization on a case-by-case basis.

    Click here for the Sea Otter Stranding guide (pdf) -- information on how to respond to the stranding of a dead or live sea otter in Washington. 



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