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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/

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Home for the Holidays


Top left: Administrative staff help volunteers Lincoln and Don roll the carrier across the beach. Top right: The door to the carrier is opened! Bottom left: Administrative staff help herd Saps toward the water. Bottom right: Saps runs out into the ocean, heading home for the holidays!



Watch video of this special Christmas Eve release assisted by members of the administrative staff! Video: Alexandra Sangmeister

Yesterday, the Center rescued a California sea lion that stranded near the Oakland International Airport. "Saps", a 210 lb. subadult male, was brought back to the Center's hospital to be checked out by the vet staff. The animal appeared alert and did not seem to be injured, and he did not seem pleased with his confinement, so after getting a checkup and a flipper tag, veterinarians decided the best course of action would be to release him as soon as possible rather than expose him to further stress at the hospital.

The Center's Stranding Department called down to the Administrative office to let us know that Saps would be released right here at Rodeo Beach within the hour. So the staff that was working today as the Center winds down for the Christmas holiday got an unexpected Christmas gift to remind us of why we do what we all do, working for this non-profit organization. A team of hardworking elves from the administrative departments jumped at this chance to connect with the ultimate purpose of our jobs in a way we don't often have the opportunity to do. We bundled up against the rain and headed out onto the blustery beach, and happily bade Saps farewell as volunteers opened his carrier. Saps stepped out carefully, took a few looks around, and headed decisively out into the stormy sea, porpoising through the waves like a champ. It was truly a serendipitous holiday treat. As we all look forward to our own holidays, it was deeply gratifying to see Saps going "home" for the holidays as well.

The experience was especially timely as The Marine Mammal Center staff moves on to a new home and packs up the offices that have hosted decades of dedicated people that helped to grow this organization into the world-class institution it has become. In January, when the administrative staff come back from our holidays, we will be returning to a spectacular new state-of-the-art space that will maximize our ability to do this important work of rescuing, rehabilitating, and researching marine mammals, and inspiring generations of people to protect these animals and the marine environment through education. We could not have achieved this milestone without our generous donors and volunteers over the years. And when the other parts of the facility are completed and we finally open our doors to the public in June, we hope you will join us to celebrate.

So it is with a profound gratitude that we thank our volunteers, supporters, and staff as we look to this next chapter in the Center's existence. As we head into our new home and "Saps" heads into his ocean home, we wish you a very happy holiday season, wherever you call home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you are the best!