Marine Animal Response Society
PEI Marine Animal Response Training and Public Outreach
Operation of a toll-free hotline for the public to report distressed and dead marine animals is crucial for timely response and collection of scientific and conservation data. Increased public awareness promotes a sense of stewardship of our marine environment and ensures incidents are reported in a timely fashion. Providing response courses also increases public awareness and stewardship as well as increases the number of first responders for dealing with live cetacean strandings.
The project goals revisited:
- Operate toll-free hotline for the public to report dead or distressed marine animals. Between April 1st and December 31st, a total of 52 calls for 35 pinniped and cetacean incidents were received.
- Distribute posters to wharves and beaches and use social media to increase public awareness of marine animals and the threats they may face. Due to reduction in budget, posters were not distributed.
- Increase public awareness of MARS’ toll-free hotline to increase the number of reported incidents. Social media was used to increase public awareness. Three posts related to incidents in PEI were viewed by 5,560 people.
- Provide response training to local volunteers to increase response effectiveness. A presentation was given to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative highlighting conservation of marine animals and response groups in the Maritime Provinces. This conference was attended by veterinarians from across Canada as well as wildlife conservation specialists. A cetacean stranding response course was also given to staff and students at the Atlantic Veterinary College. This course provides a basic level of knowledge for responding to whale and dolphin strandings.