Saving the Sea Lions and Seals at the Marine Mammal Care Center

Cole Bruhnke, Editor in Chief

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The Marine Mammal Care Center, near the Olguin campus of San Pedro High School, is working to care for animals that are sick or hurt. Specifically, they treat Pacific Harbor Seals, Northern Elephant Seals, California Sea Lions, and Northern and Guadalupe Fur Seals.

These animals need our help for a variety of reasons. They “are susceptible to malnutrition, infectious diseases, parasites, toxins and traumatic injuries. These may be due to natural causes or to conditions created or perpetuated by people.” according to the MMCC website. Sometimes, when the animals’ mothers stop nursing and they have to find food on their own, they are unable to find suitable fish. This could cause them to strand on the beach.

After an animal is reported, transportation arrives to pick them up. There’s a service that goes down and rescues them and then they bring them here.” says Chris Nagle, Director of the Center for Marine Studies, who also taught Biology at San Pedro High School for over 30 years. “They are evaluated…The vet will set up a protocol for what medicines they are going to have. Then they are marked with a number on the side if they are a sea lion, and if they are an elephant seal then the color codes go on their head.”

Which pool the patient will go into depends on their condition. Some animals are so malnourished, hurt, or sick that they will drown. These animals are kept in sections without pools. The pools go in succession from worst condition to best condition. The largest pool contains the animals that are closest to being released.

When the animal is released “depends on the animal and the infection if they have an infection.” says Director Nagle. “The maximum time we can keep an animal is three months according to the law.”

Unfortunately, not all animals can be cured or recover from their problems, such as when  an animals is blind. Then the center tries to find a home for them. The center very rarely puts down an animal, and only when the animal is going to die anyway.

After animals are done with rehabilitation, they are released. They are carried by trucks in cages down to a beach. The animal can go out back to the ocean, but sometimes it decides to lounge on the beach for a bit.

“This place works on three R’s. Rescue. Rehabilitation. Release.” says Director Nagle. To be able to help these animals, the MMCC requires donations and volunteer help to feed them, clean them, and so much more.

If you wish to volunteer, the only requirements are “that you can breath. That you can walk. That’s pretty much it.” and “You have to be over 18 to apply.” says Director Nagle. If you wish to donate, information on how to is on the website. The center would very much appreciate it! Feel free to take a trip to the center or catch a release to see the animals for yourself!

1 Comment

One Response to “Saving the Sea Lions and Seals at the Marine Mammal Care Center”

  1. Sophie✌ on May 5th, 2018 10:59 am

    Awwww they are sooo cute I go there all the time to look at all of the cute sea lions!

    [Reply]

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