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Images: Stranded Marine Mammals Stir Tough Decisions

Seals entangled in fishing lines and gear may strand on beaches where they are noticed by people. Local stranding networks around the country send workers to evaluate the animals' condition and make difficult decisions about how to care for them. Here, a worker wraps and prepares to examine a badly entangled seal. (Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Stranding Network)

Seals frequently congregate and rest on Billingsgate Shoal, Cape Cod, Mass. (Photo by Jim Canavan, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI biologist and marine mammal specialist Michael Moore was lead author of a recent article proposing a new method for making decisions about stranded marine mammals. (Photo by Jim Canavan, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Michael Moore and co-authors have called for clear guidelines for marine mammal rehabilitation and release and have proposed a decision tree similar to this, with specific criteria for choices that stranding resonders must make. (Tree courtesy of Michael Moore, redrawn by E. Paul Oberlander and Jeannine Pires, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)