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Marine Mammal Center

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Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Biological & Life Sciences, Marine Science & Oceanography, Technology


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, primarily elephant seals, harbor seals, and California sea lions. Its research team studies the causes of illness in these animals, and by doing so, learns about conditions affecting the health of marine mammal populations and the oceans – discovering conditions that can affect humans as well. In addition, the Center’s education programs teach thousands of students and the visiting public each year about marine mammals and the urgent need for environmental stewardship of earth’s marine environments.

Results: We've rescued over 19,000 marine mammals since 1975 and have opened a hospital in HI to save the highly endangered monk seal.

Target demographics: injured, orphaned or sick marine mammals.

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 500 marine mammals and educated thousands of school children.

Geographic areas served: 600 miles of CA coastline, and educate and research worldwide

Programs: Each year The Marine Mammal Center rescues hundreds of ill, injured, and orphaned marine mammals along the California coast from San Luis Obispo to Mendocino, and now also in Hawaii. Once at our hospitals, vet staff diagnose and treat infectious diseases, starvation, and injuries, including gunshot wounds, ocean trash entanglements, and shark bites. Advanced rehabilitation and husbandry practices and over 1,000 volunteers allow many of these animals to return to their ocean home. Veterinary scientists at the Center work collaboratively with many organizations, bringing together veterinary clinicians and pathologists, rehabilitation specialists, wildlife biologists, and other scientists to address the health and survival of marine mammals and investigate human and other stresses on the marine ecosystem. Many patients also show high levels of PCBs and DDT in their blubber, indicating a possible connection between marine mammal disease and environmental toxins.

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