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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/

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Entering the Belly of a Whale

The Marine Mammal Center crew at work at the necropsy site in Richmond, CA.

Earth Day April 22, 2010

"Call me Ishmael" begins one of the most famous lines in literature in the classic tale of Moby Dick.

In a timely nod to Earth Day, The Marine Mammal Center saw another whale story begin to unfold right here in the Bay Area. On April 20, the Center responded to reports that a 25-foot-long, male Gray whale carcass was floating in the San Francisco Bay between Fort Mason and Alcatraz.

At the Center's request, the U.S. Coast Guard towed the carcass to a beach near the Richmond Bridge to enable Center researchers to perform a necropsy on April 21. The purpose of a necropsy is to gather information about the whale and to try to determine its cause of death.

Today the necropsy was completed, and samples have been sent to the lab. We are now waiting on toxicology results to see if any clue will be given as to the cause of death. This process may take several months.

During the necropsy, researchers noted that the whale was malnourished, but that there were no external signs of trauma.

Upon examination of the whale’s stomach, researchers found evidence of trash including a water bottle cap and other plastic particles.

This finding of trash deep inside the belly of a whale serves as an Earth Day reminder that we are all connected to the ocean.

By helping to reduce our use of plastics and to properly dispose of those plastics, we can indeed make a difference in the health of the ocean and the creatures that live within its waters.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Earth Day is April 22! What Are You Doing to Honor the Planet?

Some volunteers work in animal rescue at The Marine Mammal Center.

April 16, 2010
Earth Day 2010 is rapidly approaching. What better way to honor the planet this Thursday than to start volunteering at The Marine Mammal Center? After all, everything we do is connected to the ocean and the ocean's health is vital to the Earth's survival.

The Marine Mammal Center relies on its invaluable team of over 800 volunteers to keep up with the demands of the tasks at hand. We need help in so many different areas: animal care, science/research, rescue and education.

If you're the type that likes to roll up your sleeves and directly work with the marine mammals, we can help make that happen. No prior experience necessary! We'll make sure you get all the training you need to be safe and effective in this exciting volunteer capacity.

If you'd prefer something a little less hands-on, we have plenty of options for you as well. Some volunteers help out in the administrative offices, the welcome desk or even in the gift shop.

Learn more about the volunteer opportunities on our website here:

Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

This Joint Is Jumpin'!

Imani, a current patient, in pool at the The Marine Mammal Center's hospital.

April 2, 2010

It's so busy at The Marine Mammal Center right now that you can hear the sounds of the marine mammals before you even enter the building from the parking lot!

We're bursting at the seams with 103 patients currently at the hospital at last count!

Spring means pupping season here, and our annual reminder to the public to Leave Seals Be! Unfortunately, well-intentioned people sometimes separate pups from their mothers when actually the mother may be nearby feeding at sea. When you see a pup, do not touch or move it. Instead, Leave Seals Be and call the Center's 24 hour response hotline instead at (415) 289- SEAL.

Imani, the harbor seal pup pictured above, was rescued on March 4 at Seacliff State Beach in Santa Cruz County. His name means faith and belief in Arabic. He was spotted alone on a beach with no mother in sight. He arrived at the Center with part of his umbilical cord still attached and a shiny lanugo coat which is usually lost before birth.

When Imani was admitted, he weighed just under 22 pounds. Today, thanks to our hospital crew working both day and night to keep him thriving, Imani has gained almost 4 pounds.

Imani needs to be fed five times a day, including one tube feeding during the night. He will be taught how to eat fish before he can return to the ocean.

You can help Imani and other pups by donating to the Center. It costs a significant amount to keep these pups thriving.

$10 = 1 meal for 1 pup

$25 = medication for 1 day for 1 pup

Help feed the pups now...

You can also help by spreading the word about our Leave Seals Be campaign. Remember to call the Center at (415) 289-SEAL. Our hotlines are staffed 24 hours a day. Learn more about Leave Seals Be...