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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, July 27, 2009

The Center Receives a "Green" Award

left to right: Merrill Magowan, Board Chair, The Marine Mammal Center,
Jared Huffman - (D - San Rafael), Jeff Boehm - Executive Director, The Marine Mammal Center

Today, assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) awared us the July Sustainable North Bay Award for our efforts in fostering marine mammal survival and the conservation of their habitat, and for our investment in on site renewable energy generation via our new solar panels over the pens and pools. The assemblyman and his was given a tour of the Center and afterwards, presented the award to both our Executive Director Jeff Boehm, and to Board Chair, Merrill Magowan.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No More Freeways for Fruitvale!

Video by The Marine Mammal Center

After almost a month of rehabilitation at the Center, Fruitvale is now back in the ocean where he belongs.  Saturday, he along with five other rehabbed sea lions were loaded into carriers and onto the Kitty Kat for the 27 mile choppy journey out to the Farallon Islands.  The Kitty Kat is operated by SF Bay Whale Watching which kindly allowed us some space on their boat to transport Fruitvale and his buddies Anquet, Hondo, Metheny, Prelude, and Superstar.  Rescue volunteer Marjorie Boor (who picked up Fruitvale from Oakland Animal Control) as well as naturalists Trish Mirabella and Nicole Lee were on board to help with the release and answer questions from the guests who were pleasantly surprised that the whale watching trip they signed up for included a special stop to drop off some unique passengers.  

Fruitvale was found on a busy freeway in Oakland on June 22 and volunteers and staff had been caring for him ever since helping to get him stronger and healthier.  Fruitvale, like hundreds of other sea lions we're rescuing these days, was malnourished - the food he would instinctively forage for along the coast had simply disappeared.  Sadly, many of these animals will not survive due to the medical conditions resulting from malnourishment.  So far this year we've rescued over 1,000 marine mammals of all species including over 720 sea lions.  Our yearly average number of rescues is about 600 animals, so this year is proving to be a very busy one for us and one where we have a lot of little mouths to feed!  We wish Fruitvale and the other healthy sea lions released Saturday the best.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Young Sea Lions Get a Second Chance at Life!

Photos: California sea lion pups are released from the Kitty Kat vessel. Photos by Nicole Lee.

In the past couple of weeks, The Marine Mammal Center has begun releasing many of the young California sea lions that were rescued due to malnutrition this past June. The sea lions are helathy and have gained the proper wieght needed to survive in the wild. On this day, a number of pups were transported by boat to the Farallon Islands, a group of islands that lie 27 miles outside of the Golden Gate bridge, and 20 miles south of Point Reyes.

The Farallon Islands were once exploited in the early 1900s for bird eggs and seal fur, but were later established as a National Wildlife Refuge for sea birds, whales, sharks, seals, and sea lions in the late 1960s. The sea lions are released at this location due to the strong upwelling that occurs around the islands. The islands rest at the end of the North American continental shelf, which is thought to support a rich pelagic food web. This may provide them with food they may have not been finding closer inland.

So far this summer, The Marine Mammal Center has rescued over 390 young California sea lion pups that have stranded as a result of malnourishment up and down the coast between San Luis Obispo and Mendocino Counties. Just over 900 marine mammals (primarily sea lions, elephant seals and harbor seals) have been rescued by the Center so far this year - well over the 600-700 it normally rescues on average each year. This high number of sea lion rescues is close to triple the amount of rescues made at this time in previous years. It is not currently known why the young sea lions are not able to find their food sources, but it is thought that the food has moved elsewhere or has dwindled.

For more information about how you can help these sea lions, visit the get involved section on our website.