New hotline takes calls on distressed marine animals
December 13, 2017 | 69° | Check Traffic

Hawaii News

New hotline takes calls on distressed marine animals

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2015

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has streamlined its hotline so the public can call one number from any island. Benny the monk seal, aka as RE-74, was found in 2014 with a hook in his stomach. He was treated and later released by NOAA.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has established a hotline accessible from any island to take reports of Hawaiian monk seals, sea turtles, dolphins and whales in need of emergency assistance.

The 24-hour number is (888) 256-9840.

Previously each island had a different number for reporting strandings, entanglements and injuries involving the marine animals. Those previous numbers are still effective.

“NOAA Fisheries relies on our partners and the general public to be our eyes and ears for any marine animal emergencies,” said NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Jolene Lau. “The quicker we hear about sick, hooked, entangled or injured animals, the quicker we can respond to help.”

The number also can be used to report the harassment of wildlife. Generally, NOAA will seek information on the location of the animal, its species or a description, its condition and your name and contact number.

NOAA’s guidelines for responsible wildlife viewing call for remaining 10 feet away from turtles, 50 feet from Hawaiian monk seals, 50 yards from dolphins and whales, and 100 yards from humpback whales.

NOAA Fisheries encourages the public to save the hotline number to cellphones and share it with family and friends.

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