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Marine Mammal Center

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Nonprofit Overview

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.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Perla N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We watched the National Geographic episode about this center and then came to visit. We did the docent led tour of the facility and learned about the different kinds of seals, how they get rescued, how they receive medical treatment, how "fish milk shakes" are prepared for them and how they are released. We were impressed by the educational and environmental mission of this organization at work. The volunteer docent was informed and inspiring, and was engaging for all the members of my family on the tour.

2 Sonja J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Marine Mammal Center is an amazing organization – from their rescuing of animals to educating the public. Their work is vital and they do it incredibly well with impressive dedication.


Client Served

Rating: 5

I take my students here every year for their awesome discovery day field trip. They learn about marine mammals and what the hospital does for them. It is a great experience and they all love it.