What does the law say about Marine Animal Rescues?

The law in South Africa is very clear in terms of members of the public handling and rescuing marine animals.
This includes

  • dolphins,
  • whales,
  • turtles,
  • seals,
  • sea birds,
  • penguins; and
  • whale sharks,

which were listed as Threatened and Protected Species on 30 May 2017, under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004:

Threatened or Protected Marine Species Regulations: Regulation 64: procedures for stranded or entangled species.

Previous to this, the Marine Living Resources Amendment Act Regulation: 58(2) and 58(6) made provision for members of the public undertaking bona fide attempts to rescue these animals, however, this is no longer the case.   The public no longer have the right to, without notice to their local authority, rescue marine wildlife. 

Now that the public are no longer legally allowed to rescue marine wildlife, what can they do?

In response to the above regulations and the increasing number of stranded animals, the KZN Stranding Network was established.

This is a voluntary collaboration between various organisations including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the KZN Sharksboard - Maritime Centre of ExcellenceSaambr (uShaka Sea World),CROW - Centre for Rehabilitation of WildlifeSecond Chance Avian Rescue (SCAR), NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute), EDTEA KZNSouth African Police Service (SAPS), Specialised Rescue Unit, local municipalities, NGO’s, community conservancies and many others. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is mandated by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as the provincial coordinator for stranded animals. As a result, the relevant permits and authority to rescue, rehabilitate and transport these animals lie within the KZN Marine Stranding Network. 

The members of this Network is a group of skilled and trained professionals who work together to provide knowledge, experience and resources to assist and ensure the best possible outcome for each animal, in terms of animal welfare, conservation and public safety. 

Get Involved

Three public workshops have been held along the KZN coastline during 2018 in order to create awareness and to train members of the public who are first responders to stranded marine animals. More workshops are to be held in 2019 – follow / like THE SAAMBRE Facebook Page to be informed of future workshop dates. 

Call for Help

It is imperative that members of the public do not attempt to rescue animals without informing the KZN Stranding Network for advice or assistance.

For 24 hour assistance, please contact

uShaka Sea World on 031 328 8222 or 031 328 8060 (after hours).

Download the Stranded Animal Booklet here:https://www.saambr.org.za/animal-rescue/

Report a Stranded Animal

What to do if you find a stranded marine animal

Contact uShaka Sea World

+27 31 328 8222 office hours
+27 31 328 8060 after hours, Public holidays & weekends

Download the Stranded Marine Animal Booklet

Dolphins & Whales

What to do:

Contact uShaka Sea World.
Send us a photo of dolphin / whale.

Guidance will be given to first responders
on beach via phone as each situation is different.

Please do not:

Refloat the animal.
Pour water down the blowhole.

Please note:

Transport by public prohibited.


What to do:

Contact uShaka Sea World.
Send us a photo of penguin.

Place the bird in a ventilated
ox, place in a quiet dark place.
uShaka Sea World will collect
or make further arrangements.

Please do not:

Handle the penguin
Keep the penguin in water or
on ice.

Please note:

Transport by public prohibited, unless permission is granted
from authorities.


What to do:

Contact uShaka Sea World.
Send us a photo of seal.

Guidance will be given to first responders
on beach via phone as each situation is different.

Cordon off a 5m perimeter
around seal.

Keep people and pets away.

Please do not:

Harass or chase seal back into
the water.
Touch the seal.
Feed the seal.

Please note:

Transport by public prohibited.


What to do:

Contact uShaka Sea World.
Send us a photo of turtle.

Guidance will be given to first responders
on beach via phone as each
situation is different.

Please do not:

Place the turtle back in the water.

Please note:

Transport by public
prohibited, unless permission
ranted from authorities.


Thank you to the volunteers and the organisation SAAMBR (The South African Association for Marine Biological Research) for their amazing support to help our marine animals.




You Might Also be Interested in:

Media Release: March 2018 Eukanuba has some exciting changes happening this year. We are eager to sh
New Years Resolutions for your pets, dieregesondheid, animal health, pet insurance, diere versekering, troeteldierversekering suid afrika, south Africa, Pet Health Care, pet care health, petcarehealth, pethealthcare, ask the vet, dieremaniere, animal behaviour, sick animals, siek diere, honde, katte, cats, dogs, veterinary advice, dog walks, dog events, pet wellness, kitten care health, pet care health insurance, pet insurance health, pet care news, pet health care questions, pet care health claim form, pet
The New Year is here. It’s time to reflect upon the past year and determine what we want to achieve,
Don’t let live exporters cook sheep alive. Get this on tv! These hard-hitting TV ads are speaking u
We all get told the benefits of exercise and strength training for ourselves, but how many of us see
There are many things to take into account when getting a new puppy, and as always, we recommend tha
­­Building a startup in the pet industry is hard, especially when the odds are stacked against you.