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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/

Monday, November 3, 2008

An Unfortunate End

A deceased elephant seal pup in a roadway in Newark . Photo: Gina Sanfilippo

A northern elephant seal pup that turned up in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newark, California last Thursday most likely met an unfortunate fate over the weekend.

The Marine Mammal Center responded to a wayward elephant seal pup when it came onto the roadway in Newark on Thursday and caused a highway to be shut down for several hours. However, the pup returned to the water and appeared to be swimming back to the bay before rescuers arrived, and was not spotted again.

On Saturday, the Center responded to another call about a seal in the same area that had wandered onto the road. It is unknown whether or not it was the same seal. However, shortly after the rescuers arrived, the animal died as they prepared to load it into a carrier. Police said the pup had most likely been struck by a vehicle which did not stop, possibly because the driver did not know they had hit it.

A necropsy back at the Center's hospital showed that the 175 lb. pup had significant hemorrhages of the deep muscle, a ruptured spleen, bruising in the lungs, and a fractured skull, among other things, which confirmed the likelihood that it had been hit by a car. It was an unfortunate end to multiple rescue attempts, but we are thankful to the volunteers who responded, as well as the Newark authorities who worked with us.

1 comment:

velogal said...

Seems hard to believe that a driver could hit an animal that large and not know it. Or not bother to stop. What a sad story...