A stranding can include a injured or ill animal, animals out of the water on a beach and/or a dead or entangled animal. Put simply, a stranding includes any incidents that do not involve:
live, free-swimming, healthy animals
live, healthy seals hauled out on beaches.
Seals temporarily ”haul out” on land so it is not unusual to find a seal on a beach. Seals come ashore to rest, bathe in the sun and must come ashore to have their pups. Mothers periodically leave their pups alone on the beach so they can feed and replenish their strength so it is important pups are not approached, handled or moved.
It is thus very important to determine if a seal is healthy (i.e. plump, alert) or, if it is a pup alone on a beach, that mom will not come back (can take 24-48 hours). This must be done before anyone approaches or interacts with the animal.