Covering Louisiana

Nov 19, 2013 3:22 PM by PRESS RELEASE

NOAA Fisheries unveils apps to help marine mammals

NOAA Fisheries is unveiling two new smartphone apps, Dolphin &Whale 911 and See & ID Dolphins &Whales, as a way to assist citizens reporting sick, injured or dead marine mammals and identify and view marine mammals responsibly in the wild.

The Dolphin & Whale 911 app enables users to report stranded dolphins, whales, and seals in the Southeastern United States (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Reports of live or dead stranded, injured or entangled marine mammals will immediately go to trained and authorized emergency responders from the Southeast U.S. Marine Mammal Stranding Network. The public may also send GPS stamped photos of the animal to the Stranding Network in real time.

"The Dolphin & Whale 911 app will revolutionize the way we find out about and respond to stranded marine mammals throughout the Southeast," said Laura Engleby, Southeast Marine Mammal Branch Chief for NOAA Fisheries. " This technology will make it easier for people to know who to call and what to do if they find a stranded marine mammal.

Marine mammal strandings in NOAA's Southeast Region typically average 730 animals annually. More recently though, an outbreak of morbillivirus in the Mid-Atlantic from New York through Florida is creating an increase in calls to the marine mammal stranding network reporting hotline. This is just one of three marine mammal unusual mortality events currently taking place in the Southeast. Timely information, provided by citizens using the Whale and Dolphin 911 app, will be very helpful to responders.

"Because we can't be everywhere, we rely on our citizens to be our eyes and ears," said Erin Fougeres, Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Program Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. "Quick reporting may help save an animal's life by providing us with real time information about the location and kind of marine mammal in trouble."

The See & ID Dolphins & Whales app is geared towards wildlife and nature enthusiasts. This species ID guide allows users to learn more about the biology, habitat and the best ways to responsibly view and protect marine mammals. Dolphins and whales are protected by law. This app provides valuable information about how and why it is important to keep a safe distance in order to prevent or minimize disturbance to these animals.

NOAA Fisheries, in partnership with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) and Versar-Geo-Marine, Inc.and with the technical expertise from Applied Research Associates, worked collaboratively to develop the smartphone apps.

The apps are currently available for download on iTunes and in the Google Play store.
See & ID Dolphins & Whales- Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.noaa.see_id_dolphins_whales
and iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/see-id-dolphins-whales/id699127250?mt=8

Dolphin & Whale 911- Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.noaa.dolphinwhale911 and iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dolphin-whale-911/id698859376?mt=8

For more information, visit:
http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/outreach_and_education/mm_apps/index.html

Citizens without smartphones may continue to report live or dead stranded, injured or entangled marine mammals in the Southeast U.S. to 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343).

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