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The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary hospital, research, and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals and the study of their health. Since 1975, the Center has rescued and treated more than 16,500 marine mammals and has accumulated a body of knowledge about marine mammal and ocean health. Through public education about marine mammals, the Center hopes to foster ocean stewardship and conservation. For more information, visit http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sick sea lions along the coast

Clockwise: A California sea lion rest on a dock in San Francisco. Water Rescue Team members from The Marine Mammal Center use a special net to capture a sea lion. TMMC veterinarian Nicola Pussini collects blood samples from one sea lion before releasing it back to the water. A successful capture. NMFS Permit # 932-1489-10. Photos: The Marine Mammal Center
Larger numbers of California sea lions are stranding along the coast this year as a result of a bacterial infection called leptospirosis, and that's keeping staff and volunteers here very busy rescuing and administering treatment. The disease affects the kidneys of these animals, and in many cases causes death. Cases of leptospirosis appear every year, with outbreaks every 4-5 years. The Center is advancing its studies of the disease by collecting blood samples from juvenile sea lions in the wild. The data from these samples will help the Center understand more about the susceptibility of sea lions in the population during an epidemic and clarify the relationship between the stranded sea lions with leptospirosis seen here at the Center and those that are susceptible in the population. Collaborators in this new study include the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, University of California Los Angeles, University of California at Davis, Penn State University, and the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa.


jill said...

The sea lion lives off the west coast of North America. It is a vertebrate which means it has a backbone. The sea lion lives in warm climates and migrates south to warmer climates when the temperature cools down. It is a mammal which means it has mammary glands that produce milk for its young. The physical features are growth of 5-11 feet in length and weight from 77-2400 lbs. Usually, the male is bigger than the female. The body of the sea lion is shaped like a torpedo so it can swim faster and easier. The sea lion has whiskers, a little fur, blubber, and fins.

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Michele Wassell said...

Excellent work!!