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Thursday, July 31, 2008
The Marine Mammal Center has a very impressive patient at the moment. Gettysburg, a California sea lion, practically fills his pen, towering over the sea lions in adjoining pens. He's an approximately 8 ft. adult male who weighs in at over 500 pounds, at last (and only) check. Getting an aggressive animal of that size onto a scale is no easy feat! Adult male California sea lions develop a bump on their heads after the age of five which is known as a sagittal crest. Gettysburg has a sagittal crest (see photo above).
Gettysburg was rescued from Oceano Dunes in San Luis Obispo with a large abscess on his shoulder. He was unable to put weight on his flipper at that time, so it was clear he would need to be treated to survive. A whole team of people helped in his rescue and transport to the Sausalito hospital, where his abscess was drained and he is now receiving antibiotics to help heal the wound. In the mean time, he does not seem to like captivity, which is just as it should be, as we like to keep the animals as wild as possible if and when we are able to release them back to their ocean habitat. In the case of Gettysburg, a massive and potentially dangerous wild marine mammal, this means volunteers and veterinary staff must use all their training and be extremely alert and on guard when treating him. When inside his pen, volunteers must constantly avoid Gettysburg's roaring charges at them, often blocking him with a herding board to avoid getting bitten, while simultaneously throwing fish into his pool or using the hose to spray clean the floor of his pen. It's clear that caring for animals like Gettysburg is a labor of love for our brave and skilled volunteers!
It is hoped that Gettysburg will recover from his injury and be healthy enough to release back to the wild. In the mean time, this demanding patient eats 20 pounds of fish a day, about 15 pounds more than the juveniles in the pens next to him, and makes sure everyone knows he's the king of the pen. No easy guest, in other words!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Sometimes, animals rehabilitated at the Center are not releasable back to the wild, but are otherwise healthy animals. These include animals that have some sort of permanent injury that would prohibit them from being able to feed out in the ocean, or animals that re-strand and for some reason or another, cannot take care of themselves in the wild. When this happens, the Center does its best to find the animal a permanent home at a facility like an aquarium or a zoo.
Such was the case with “Seahawk”, a
While it’s not the optimal outcome for animals that are rehabilitated here, it’s fortunate that there are facilities willing to care for animals that otherwise would not survive, and the animals placed in these facilities will go on to educate people about marine mammals.
See photos of Seahawk and his penmates above!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Arctic suckles formula from a bottle through the fencing (photo taken with a zoom lens through a small hole in the tarp).
On June 30, The Marine Mammal Center rescued a days-old Steller sea lion that was separated from its mother on
The Steller sea lion population has dropped by 80% in the last 30 years. In 1997, the western stock in
To combat this risk,
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Please look for The Marine Mammal Center in this Sunday’s (July 27) Parade Magazine, which is read by 71 million people and is carried in newspapers across the country, including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee, the San Luis Obispo Tribune, and The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, among others in
Friday, July 18, 2008
Our new facility is really beginning to take shape, and we are excited for the public to see our state-of-the-art Center when it opens in 2009. The construction has moved along at a clip, and there are many new developments.
The Animal Care building work is now focused on the installation of cabinetry and countertops, lab and kitchen equipment, as well as lighting and plumbing fixtures. Painting is underway and the spaces are nearing their final appearance.
The construction of the Veterinary Science building continues to progress rapidly. The framing of the exterior walls is complete as is the interior framing on the second floor. This week’s work has focused on the installation of the exterior wall paneling in preparation for the waterproofing membrane which is slated for this coming week. Inside the building the contractor is working on rough installation of the electrical and plumbing systems as well as door frames and HVAC ductwork.
The locker room and shop building roofing was completed this week. Upcoming work on these buildings will include plumbing rough-in work on the locker room building as well as concrete floors inside both buildings.
Work on the Education building this month has been focused on the installation of lighting fixtures and interior wiring, plumbing connections in the kitchen area, and preparation for the final finishing of the floors throughout the building.
The biggest milestone in the past month has been the completion of the walkways in the pen and pools area. Epoxy coating of the pens and pools also got underway this month and will stretch at least through the next several weeks.
Construction of the ozone generating plant got underway in the last two weeks. All of the equipment has been placed and the piping for distribution of high pressure air for pneumatic controls and for the distribution of ozone gas has begun. Additionally, we have been working with the LSS contractor and the electricians to begin the installation of the digital instrumentation for the automation and control of the filtration systems.