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Course Description

What would you do if you were walking on the shore, and you found a living, but severely injured dolphin in shallow water? As coastal areas become more and more populated and less of the world's shoreline is untraveled wilderness, it becomes increasingly common for people to run into a marine animal in distress. Often, the first response is to try to help the animal, but without proper training, people's well-meaning efforts can make the situation worse.


This study is designed for people who would like to help marine animals or become involved in marine wildlife rescue efforts. Although every stranding network has its own specialized volunteer training program, it is helpful to have a solid understanding of the general physiology of animals that are most likely to strand and with basic response techniques.


As with a human emergency, the primary focus of anyone who stumbles across a marine animal in distress should call professional assistance first. This study will help you

·    Recognize an animal that is truly in distress

·    Provide the right information to responders

·    Understand the common reasons marine animals strand

·    Appreciate the special adaptations of marine animals to their environment

·    Comprehend seasonal stranding trends

·    Formulate an appropriate response if you find a stranded animal

·    Know who to call and where to go for help

·    Identify laws and regulations that affect the ability to care for marine animals

·    See why response teams follow the procedures they do

·    Realize the goals and importance of marine rehabilitation centers

·    Comprehend the issues surrounding rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals

·    Devise a plan to reduce your individual contribution to marine problems

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics

Lesson 1: Introduction

Lesson 2: Biology

Lesson 3: When Do Animals Strand?

Lesson 4: Effects on the Animal of Coming Ashore

Lesson 5: What to do When you Spot a Stranded Animal

Lesson 6: Stranding Networks

Lesson 7: Basic Rescue: Birds

Lesson 8: Basic Rescue: Mammals

Lesson 9: Deceased Animal: First Responders

Lesson 10: Rehabilitation Process

Lesson 11: Release Criteria

Lesson 12: Prevention

Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with an assignment. Students will successfully complete this course with an overall average of 70% or higher.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe biology needed for marine life rescue.
  • Identify when do animals strand.
  • Know the effects on the animal of coming ashore.
  • Describe what to do when you spot a stranded animal.
  • Know what a basic rescue entails.
  • Describe what to do when there's a deceased animal.
  • Describe rehabilitation process.
  • Describe release criteria, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction1
Lesson 1 Exam10
Lesson 2 Exam10
Lesson 3 Exam10
Lesson 4 Exam10
Lesson 5 Assignment10
Lesson 5 Exam10
Lesson 6 Exam10
Lesson 7 Exam10
Lesson 8 Exam10
Lesson 9 Exam7
Lesson 10 Exam10
Lesson 11 Exam9
Lesson 12 Exam7
The Final Exam35
Total Points:159

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