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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, August 31, 2009

Flipper amputation may give Round Two second chance back in the wild

Left - Round Two, a California sea lion, in surgery at The Marine Mammal Center.
Right - Round Two after surgery, rests comforatbly in her pool.

Round Two, a yearling California sea lion, is one of the latest patients to be admitted to the Center with a wound that if untreated, could have been life-threatening. She was spotted on a dock in Monterey County by citizens who called the Center. Volunteers from our Monterey unit jumped into action and rescued the 60 pound female yearling on August 16. She had major damage to her right hind flipper. Upon evaluation by the Center's veterinarians, it was determined that the trauma and infection were too much to fix. Lucky for Round Two this was a hind flipper and the decision was made to amputate it as sea lions can do well in the wild without one. All went well and Round Two ate one hour after surgery and has been swimming around and eating well ever since. She still has some major healing to do but her disability has not slowed her down and we hope to return her to the ocean soon. We think that's pretty impressive!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Arctic the Steller sea lion is on the move!

Remember Arctic, the Steller sea lion pup that was only days old when rescued by the Center in 2008 and was released in April, 2009 at Aňo Nuevo? Before her release, Arctic was fitted with a satellite tag so that we could track her movements in the wild. Although we recently stopped receiving transmissions (the tags generally last about 3 months) the transmission map above illustrates the remarkable range of her movements and indicates that she is adjusting well to life in the wild. We hope that she'll eventually have her own pup as she is part of a dwindling population of Steller sea lions. You can read about our successful efforts to rehabilitate another Steller sea lion pup named Artemis right here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sea lions back to the sea!

There's something beautiful about seeing former patients become healthy again and return to the sea. I don't know if it represents the accomplishment of the veterinarians and volunteers in helping each sickly animal, or if it's the homecoming, if you will, of seeing a California sea lion wobble its way down the sandy beach and dive head first back to his home in the Pacific ocean, but in any event, the Center's guests and special members got to experience that euphoric rush on August 8. That's when six California sea lions were released at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. The patients were given colorful names including Chirp, Smackdown, Snotball (o.k. not so glamorous, but certainly an active description), Van Eyck, Maylay, and Elijah. With a crowd looking on at a safe distance - out each sea lion came from within its carrier to explore its new surroundings. Within minutes most of the critters scooted, then dove into the water, while one lagged on for a bit as if to test his mood before committing to getting wet. He eventually did.