Many members of the Rookery Bay staff are active, trained participants in the Marine Mammal Stranding Network - Southeast region. Members of this network provide response assistance as needed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Wildlife Research Institute, which are the lead agencies on sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and whales in Florida waters.
In response to a call for help from the waters in or around the Rookery Bay Reserve, FWC contacts staff at Rookery Bay to verify the report (floating objects are sometimes misidentified), the precise location, and the nature of the injury or perceived illness. They often stay with the animal until more help is able to arrive on the scene, assist with or provide transportation to Miami Seaquarium or Lowery Park Zoo for rehabilitation, and are sometimes even on-hand to assist with the animal's subsequent release back into the same waters from where it was rescued. To report a marine mammal in distress, call the Marine Mammal Stranding hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
The "Dolphin & Whale 911" app (for both Apple and Android users) enables the public in the Southeast U.S. to immediately report live or dead stranded, injured, or entangled marine mammals by connecting them to the nearest stranding response hotline. The "SEE & ID Dolphins & Whales" app (for both Apple and Android users) is an electronic field guide that assists the public in identifying marine mammals in the Southeast U.S. and provide species information, such as physical description, biology, habitat, conservation/status and photos. The app also informs that public of appropriate ways to enjoy viewing marine mammals in the wild without harming or harassing them.
Learn more about the Marine Mammal Stranding Network
Read about an entangled dolphin which was rescued near Isles of Capri in 2012
Read about the leatherback sea turtle which was rescued from a crab trap line May 9, 2013
Read about the pilot whale mass stranding event on Kice Island in January 2014
Read about manatees released back into Rookery Bay in 2015
Read about Marine Mammal Stranding Newtork (MMSN) training in 2015