Australia is a country familiar with whale strandings.
ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia) works with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage and other government agencies at these events.
Effective rescue procedures took quite a long while to perfect. Even by the mid 1980s few animals could be saved. However, Australia now has a leading role in the development of whale rescue techniques and has an excellent success record at mass strandings.
ORRCA is leading the way in developing more effective ways to rescue whales and other marine mammals and is the most experienced and successful whale rescue organisation in Australia.
Every year ORRCA trains many members of government agencies (including the Office of Environment and Heritage) and its members in marine mammal rescue.
ORRCA is also involved with the protection and welfare of seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins and dugongs, and their environment. Every year ORRCA volunteers spend many hours protecting hauled out seals and monitoring other marine mammals. We also work with Government Authorities and other groups with marine mammal rehabilitation and release. ORRCA's input is also sought when legislative bodies are amending existing laws or introducing new ones.
We assist with, monitor and give advice on marine animal entanglements.
ORRCA members receive a quarterly newsletter 'Flippers and Flukes'. This keeps members up to date with the latest in best practices and procedures from Australia and around the world. We also encourage our members to tell stories of their experiences with marine wildlife.
We have active research programs to better understand the problems that marine mammals encounter and to discover possible solutions and favourable outcomes. Our research includes necropsies, bone recoveries, skeletal exhumations, whale migration and behaviour monitoring and observations, as well as ongoing investigations in other areas.
Public education is another of our activities. We are always willing to share our knowledge as we are there for all.
Everyone in ORRCA is a volunteer. ORRCA is the only wildlife carer group in New South Wales licensed to be involved with marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation and release. Our members come from all walks of life, age groups and nationalities. We operate as a non-profit organisation and have charity status. View our constitution here.
Most importantly ORRCA operates a 24 hour/7 day a week Marine Mammal Hotline. This telephone Hotline is staffed by volunteers and keeps ORRCA members, Government Authorities and interested members of the public informed of marine mammal emergencies, incidents and sightings. These incidents are not only in New South Wales but often in other states or even other countries.
ORRCA receives limited grants but otherwise relies on income from memberships, donations and workshops to keep the hotline and the organisation functioning.
Membership is open to all and your enquiries are welcome, new members are always welcome, so please do not hesitate to contact us.