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The following is a summerized transcription of a comedian's review of the "Protocol Stranded Living Large Whales".

The protocol is real and actually posted on the website of the Dutch government. The comments on it are not official, but very funny and spot on. Well worth a read!

The irony already starts on the cover: "Protocol Stranded Living Large Whales", accompanied by a photo of a dead sperm whale on a beach and "version 1.1". So this already went through at least one review.

The most important is attachment two: the official form to report a large stranded living whale. That's where we went wrong in the past: there wasn't a form. Here you can enter everything: location, your name and contact details, estimated size of the whale, environmental situation of the stranding. I think that's always water and sand. I'd be surprised if anyone ever said "it's in the middle of a shopping center".

The form, photos and videos should be sent to a museum specializing in animals skeletons, so I think it's clear what the intended goal is for the now still living whale. Anyway, it's important to fill out this form and drop it in a mailbox. I'm sure there will be one nearby on the beach.

After that you of course want to help. That's where attachment four comes in: "First Aid for Stranded Living Whales". You know, so that you don't just put your mouth on a hole and start blowing. There are 7 simple rules for first aid to stranded whales:

1. "Keep the animal cool and wet. Cover the animal with wet cloths if possible." It could be wet wipes, whatever you have 200 square feet of in your purse.
2. "Dig a hole around the fins and tails to reduce the pressure on its body. Don't dig too deep!" The difference between saving a whale and burying it alive is a matter of inches.
3. "Create shadow if possible." So basically make sure you always have a couple of party tents with you.
4. "Avoid loud noises, flashing lights and unnecessary movement."
5. "Keep other animals such as dogs at a distance." Seals may be fine, I don't know.
6. "Stay away from the mouth, tail and blow hole." Let's go back to point two. Dig a hole around the fins and the tail. Point six: stay away from the tail. So dig a [i]really[/i] big hole around the tail, but not too deep!
7. "Keep the animal straight if possible." It should be possible not to move 25 tons of whale fat.

At this point you filed out the form, performed first aid and now a decision has to be made about life and death. Thankfully there is attachment five for that situation: the decision tree. From top to bottom there are a couple of questions with arrows for possible answers: either down to the next question, to the left for "back to sea" or to the right for euthanasia. With 2 arrows to the left and 10 to the right, I think it's clear where the priorities are. Basically all options lead to the museum for dead animal remains.

- Animal in bad condition? Euthanasia.
- Risk for humans? Euthanasia.
- Time since stranding more than 12 hours? Euthanasia. Always ask the animal when it stranded.
- Bad weather conditions? If it rains, that's annoying so euthanasia.

Finally you get to the option to save the animal. It doesn't specify how you should save it, but there are two possible outcomes: if the rescue failed it is euthanasia again, but if it is successful, the animal can go back to sea.

Well, if the protocol was followed of course. If a technical error was made or the form wasn't complete, then the ministry obviously reserves the right to catch the saved whale and euthanize it after all, because we either save according to protocol or we don't save at all.

 
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