Did someone leave a giant potato 🥔 on deck again? Our gill net injury patient was all tucked up for an afternoon bake in the sun the other day. He is still in our care and this pic gives just a small glimpse of how deeply he is scarred around his neck and mouth. Gill nets are terrible things for marine life.
Turn your sound on to fully appreciate what’s going on here (apart from the squawking gulls!). Even though these sea lion pups are eating whole fish now, some still really like to suckle. Doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a flipper or an ear flap, they will suckle on it for comfort. Most California sea lion pups are born mid-June and abruptly weaned by their moms at around 6 months to a year later. These patients are early arrivals from that cycle and there will be more malnourished pups as we head into the busy season.
We moved a bunch of our sea lion pups to the big pool yesterday and they seem pretty excited about it? As you can tell from this chubby pup, they’ve packed on weight in the last month. It’s so great to watch this group of patients flip and play and porpoise clean out of the water. Such a big difference from where they started. We’re open daily 10 - 4 and you can see these guys splashing about and getting stronger. Hooray!
We kicked off the weekend with three sea lion releases this morning at White Point Beach! This yearling male came in with a gunshot wound to his neck over a month ago. He was lucky that only a smaller artery was hit. Our staff removed the bullet and wrapped his neck wound with care until it healed. This beautiful guy is a survivor and we hope he has a long life safe from any further human harm. Good luck out there and sorry that this happened to you at all! 💕
This sea lion pup is trying out a new body pillow. The reviews are in: it’s soft but squirmy! These little furfaces are recent year-end arrivals that are now eating fish on their own. Still skinny but heading in the right direction after nearly starving. Cuddle up for comfort, buddies!
A calm and slightly overcast morning at nearby Point Fermin. Enjoyed watching this paddleboarder kneel down and pick up ocean trash as he made his way along the kelp beds. We salute his efforts as we see firsthand the harm done to marine mammals from balloons, plastic bags, water bottles and fishing line. Let’s all take extra care to clean up after ourselves as we enjoy our beautiful coasts!
Leaving the Keys was hard. I miss Florida, my home state, more than I admit; the weather, the ocean, the marine life. Spending our last day with this guy and revisiting the @dolphinsplus Marine Mammal Rescue was wonderful. Dolphins Plus, Inc. Oceanside will soon go to non-profit status (as of January 1st). They are on call 24/7/365 to assist with marine mammal emergencies and the Marine Mammal Responder Unit covers 10,000 square miles of marine habitat. Special places like this remind me how lucky I am to be from Florida. Look forward to our next trip and a huge thank-you to Dolphins Plus for having us. 🐬🌊🐠☀️🏝 #🐬
It’s the last day of the year and the gang’s all here in our best nine posts of 2017. Yoga-posing elephant seals, acrobatic sea lions and chunky harbor seals made us all smile this year. From our sweet cross-eyed ellie to our many successful rehab and release stories, thank you for following along with the work we do at MMCC LA! It’s a big job to get these animals back to better health so we also want to thank all staff, volunteers and supporters for helping us care for nearly 400 patients this year. There’s still time to make a tax-deductible donation for 2017 so the donate link is in our bio. Here’s to a happier and healthier 2018 for our oceans and marine mammal friends! 💕🐟🐋🐬🦈🐟🐋🐬🦈🐟💕
When picking a pillow, make sure to choose one that can’t waddle away mid-nap. If you’re getting bored of snoozing over the holidays, why not drop by MMCC LA to visit our patients? We’re open daily from 10-4, there’s plenty of parking and it’s free.
Want to learn how to care for and feed little smoochers like these sea lion pups? We’re now taking applications for hearty Animal Care volunteers. More of a marine mammal enthusiast that likes talking to people? Terrific! We’re also looking for friendly and informative Education volunteers. Seal’s the day and apply now through the link in our bio for shifts that start in the new year!
Friday furface facts! California sea lions weigh about 13-20 pounds at birth and are usually abruptly weaned anywhere from 6 months to a year. They get their hydration from food so they can go downhill really fast if they aren’t getting enough nutrients on their own. This pup came in well below expected weight at around six months old. Given that they can live 20-30 years, it’s amazing to watch their health steadily improve to the point they can be returned to the ocean. PS... the >v< symbols are shaved into their fur with barber clippers as a patient ID that grows out over time.
A lot of visitors ask how our patients get to Marine Mammal Care Center LA. We don't do the rescues ourselves. Instead, we rely on a network of Marine Animal Rescue folks that respond to calls about sick or injured seals and sea lions along the LA County coast. In early October, two of our animal care crew members, Jennifer and Kim, watched and documented as a rescue unfolded at nearby Sunken City.
An adult female sea lion was spotted out on the rocks with a pretty bad gash on her right fore flipper. We can't be sure how she was injured, but she couldn't put her full weight on it. Together with LA County Lifeguards, the MAR crew secured the injured sea lion in a net and carefully floated her out to the waiting boat. She was then loaded onto a truck and brought to MMCC LA where our staff took over and she became our patient.
As you can see, she's put on a lot of weight over the last couple of months but is still being treated and evaluated. She's sometimes referred to as T-Rex because of her raspy howl. She's been through a lot so at least she comes by her complaints honestly.
We're grateful to Marine Animal Rescue and LA County Lifeguards that regularly pull together to get animals safely to our door. If you see an animal in distress, please call them first as handling wild animals of any size is dangerous work. And special thanks to Jennifer and Kim for sharing an amazing rescue of a patient that they now help care for on a regular basis. Great work, everyone!
This week we also released Patient 17-352, one of our shark bite survivors. The harsh reality of life as a sea lion includes being chomped on by larger predators. This yearling escaped with a chunk taken out of his lower back and arrived at MMCC LA in need of wound care. He healed well and has a nasty battle scar but gets a second chance at life. While with us we noticed his habit of napping with one flipper holding onto the pool's edge. He seems to do things his own way including choosing to climb over big rocks instead of going around them at his release. He's a real tuffie and we wish him a good long life in the ocean!
We promised to share a pupdate on our first early arrival, Patient 17-356... but now we’ve got three of these little poopers in our care! One is chilling in the background while 17-356 and 17-357 keep trying to suckle on each other. These hungry pups have a lot to learn and will keep our animal care crew very busy in the months ahead. Having said that, oh em gee they are so cute. It’s a good thing we use patient numbers or it’d be tempting to call them Lil Heart Nose, Cutie McCuteface and Butt Chomper Supreme. Seriously though, we make every effort to maintain their wildness and that’s just one of our approaches. The main goal is to get them back up to a healthy weight and home to the ocean. Good luck, little guys!
Hooray for #GivingTuesday ! Our latest rescue is a young California sea lion with severe gill net injuries. Patient 17-354 isn’t a random number. It means we’re treating the 354th patient at our hospital this year alone! Your donations help us rehab and release these flippered beauties back to the ocean. Thank you to everyone supporting Marine Mammal Care Center LA in any way you can! To give today: marinemammalcare.org/donate
For someone who is absolutely TERRIFIED of public speaking, it was one of the most nerve-wrecking thing to speak in front of 250 people in the audience and many more watching the live stream at the 25th Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without @cairnsbrianna as the best partner I could ask for. Despite me tripping up a few times, we did it, and I’m proud of us! Thank you MMR for giving us this opportunity, and huge shoutout to everyone who supported me along the way to where I am today. ❤️🐋
If anyone wants to see our presentation, it’s still available online at
https://youtu.be/KtoEaTNkAfY (link in my bio- we presented at 6:26:07)
Our Supplies for Seals Drive is coming up on Sunday from 11 - 4! You can help us stock our supply cabinet by donating urgently needed care items from our wish list. Link in bio! In return, we’ll have games, crafts, feeding demos, live music and more. Bring the family and enjoy a barking good time!
This ellie is thinking TGIF! Thank Goodness It’s Fish again for lunch time. She’s our last Northern Elephant Seal patient out of 80 that came in during the busy 2017 spring post-weaning season. She’s a big healthy girl now but still needs to pack on a few more pounds before release. We moved a bossy sea lion (who sounds a lot like a T-rex) to her own pool so the remaining patients can chunk up with greater ease. The ellies are a little slower to move even at feeding time so this should help. Here she’s checking out what's happening below the surface before committing herself to the pool. We like her style!
Whip your herring back and forth! This sea lion is chomping down like a boss. We always try to pack some extra pounds on our patients before release so that they have ample fat stored up in their bodies. It gives them time to acclimate back to the ocean and finding their own food.
Pretty sure if we took a vote, sea lions would take top spot as comedians of the sea. They are a hoot and visitors always seem to walk away with smiles on their faces. This one might also be a magician because she’s very good at making fish disappear... eventually. 🎩🐟✨
Today, I assisted in the stranding of a baby Sperm Whale (neonatal period) with the rescue team at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Sperm whales have the largest brains in the world (6x larger than humans), build complex social bonds, are highly intelligent, and are very emotional. This sweet female was only a few months old, still a nursing baby, 15 ft long and 1500+ lbs. Unfortunately, she was very weak and was euthanized. A necropsy will be done to find out the exact reason. What an amazing day. 🐋 #volunteer#spermwhale#whale#conservation#marinemammalrescue#marinemammal#whalerescue
This streamlined California sea lion has an open wound on her right front flipper. You can see it just as she surfaces. It’s healing and doesn’t seem to be slowing her down as much as it did on arrival. Did you know that we often use natural unprocessed honey for wound care? Bee-lieve it! 🐝 It’s amazing stuff that hydrates, reduces inflammation and provides antibacterial action among other things. Yay for nature helping these beauties bounce back!
Update: It was 10 whales not 12. Unfortunately the two that were injured from an unknown source have died and two others died from exhaustion. The remaining six were successfully led back out to sea. 🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋
Thank you to my friend from Aceh @shaivannur who sent me this story. It wasn’t in English but I did my best to put the story together.
On Monday a pod of 12 sperm whales washed up on a beach in the Aceh province of Indonesia. In a desperate attempt to help the whales, volunteers tied rope around them to try and haul them back out to sea.
They felt they couldn’t wait for high tide due to the stress to the whales of being out of deep water. ‘It is best to wait until high tide, but we are concerned they might die,’ Sapto Prabowo from the Natural Resource Conservation Agency said.
It’s not known why the whales beached, but at least two of them were injured and were treated. It does appear that after some hours they were able to successfully lead them all out to sea. I will update if I can find more information.
Video 🎥 @habibi_abed
Our visitors often ask where they can see seals and sea lions in the wild after spending time with our patients. Our hot tip for today is Point Fermin Park just a few minutes drive from MMCC LA. Go to the third picnic overlook spot from the right side of the park and look down. Harbor seals regularly haul out onto the flat rocks below. They like that it’s away from people and dogs so they can snooze undisturbed in the sun or swim in the kelp beds. You can also often see dolphins, peregrine falcons and a whole lot of squirrels. Good luck!
Vaquita Porpoise - the worlds smallest living cetacean and also the most critically endangered marine mammal species. They are so so rare and efforts are being made to save the last remaining individuals but it’s not looking great due to their low numbers. Vaquita populations have plummeted due to one threat—gillnets. Gillnets are like walls in the ocean and these guys swim past and get entangled and drown (a fate that many marine creatures have gone through due to the use of nets) The bycatch of vaquita in gillnets has driven vaquita numbers from over 550 in 1997 to less than 30 today 💔😔
A lot of preparation goes into transferring a patient to a new home. Our Animal Care Crew spent time getting Sweetie comfortable with going up and down the ramp into the travel crate for the flight. She was also introduced to Amanda and Paul from the Pittsburgh Zoo. They’ll be looking after her care and training going forward. We love that our cross-eyed ellie has a new forever home with an awesome bunch of people. We miss her already!
As you may or may not know, we don't name our patients while they're under our care. We use patient ID numbers. The only time that changes is when an animal is deemed non-releasable and we try to find them a forever home. And so, we're officially calling this gal Sweetie because, well... look at that face. She's MUCH bigger now and a lot of preparation is underway to transfer her tomorrow to the very lovely folks at Pittsburgh Zoo.
For background, Sweetie was rescued from Point Dume in March of this year and was transferred to us from the California Wildlife Center. She was very thin at only 77 pounds and we noted that her eyes appeared to deviate towards her nose. She responded well to hand feeding and her vibrissae (whiskery things) helped her locate fish on the pool bottom. As a good eater, she began to recover like all the other elephant seals.
She was considered for release, but during her pre-release exam she failed to exhibit a visual menace response. We also tested her with live fish and she couldn't seem to focus on moving objects very well. Ultimately, her crossed eyes meant a poor prognosis for survival in the wild and the NMFS approved her for placement in a permanent home. Thank goodness for the Pittsburgh Zoo!
In her new home, she'll have the company of Coolio, a blind male elephant seal rescue, and she'll get the personal care and feeding she needs to thrive.
We'll definitely miss this big baked potato (at nearly 300 pounds she looks like one sunning on deck) and will update as she gets settled in to her new digs!
Feeding times make our sea lions go a little bit Looney Tunes. Best part is the synchro leap out of the pool by two of our hungry patients. So fun to watch these goofballs slip and slide around as they wait for the lunch cart.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Beware of spooktacular elepHAUNT seals, SQUEAL lions and harBOOr seals along the Pacific Ghost tonight! Our sweet-faced ellie isn’t quite pulling off “spooky” but she probably hopes you get a lot of candy. She’ll take any spare fish you don’t want too. 🐟🎃🐟🎃🐟AWOOooooOoooOo!
Day 30: "Found". Chester the False Killer Whale was found sick and emaciated as baby on Chesterman's Beach. After a long period of recover at Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, he was deemed unreleasable by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and was taken in by the aquarium to give him life long care. (He wouldn't survive on his own in the wild). He survives as an ambassador if his species in this indefinite future of our oceans. .
#falsekillerwhale#dolphin#pseudorcacrassidens#オキゴンドウ#インクトバー#水族館#バンクーバー#イルカ#inktober#inktober2017#vanaqua#marinemammalrescue @vanaqua @oceanwise
This guy keeps “heron” good things about the fish served at MMCC LA! 😏 These beautiful fish thieves have our feeding schedule clocked and swoop in when it’s time. They’ll even yoink herring right out of an ellie’s mouth as they surface from the pool. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch (and we have screens and string up to cut down on it) but the grey herons beg to differ.
Our (not so) spoooooky elephant seal invites you to dress up and visit the Marine Mammal SCARE CENTER this Sunday from 12-4pm. Our Visitors Center is decked out for a hauntingly good time and you can say hi to our seal and sea lion patients. We'll have festive treats for the kiddos and happily accept a wish list item (link in bio) or small cash donation in return. See you there... if you DARE! MWAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!
Did you know that we’re the only year-round marine mammal rehabilitation facility in LA county? Our patient numbers are low right now (always a good thing!) as hundreds of seals and sea lions were treated with care and returned to the ocean since January. This young elephant seal is one of our non-releasable patients due to vision issues that impact her ability to track and catch live fish. She’s still a very healthy eater though. The good news is that we found a great home for her and will share her story as it unfolds. Come say goodbye to this sweetie before she heads off in early November! We’re open to visitors every day from 10am - 4pm.
Sea lions seem to have it all figured out. They're super fast in the water, use all four flippers to walk on land and know that the best thing to do when caught in a sunbeam is to drift off to sleep. They're highly intelligent so who can say if this patient is dreaming of fish or solving complex math problems. In this case: 🌊🦁+ ☀️= 💤!
Happy Mirounga Monday! Did you know there are two types of elephant seals? Northern and Southern. Our location in Southern California and proximity to off-shore breeding grounds like the Channel Islands, means we regularly care for stranded Northern elephant seal pups aka Mirounga Angustirostris. This big sweetie has been with us since March and is very good at snoozing while she drifts along the edge of the pool.
We said "so long" to a few more sea lions this morning at White Point Beach. This silvery sub-adult male was a re-strand patient from 2015. This time he needed a fish hook removed from his mouth. Ouch! He's feeling better now and is off to join his friends in the ocean.
The results of our very informal insta-poll are in! Turns out that 53% of you think this bathing beauty looks more like a baked potato than an elephant seal. She certainly does turn a nice golden brown when out of the pool for a while. Thanks for playing along and stay tuned for updates on our sweet potato-shaped patient! ☀️🥔🥔🥔☀️
Our harbor seal patients were pretty eager to get back in the ocean at our latest release. Did you know that they rest onshore almost every day? If you see harbor seals hauled out, make sure to give them plenty of space. They are easily disturbed by humans on foot, dogs and kayakers trying to get a closer look. Harbor seals don't even like being that close to one another and tend to keep a flipper's distance apart. (Mom and pup being the exception, of course.) So if they're reacting in any way to your presence, you're too close.
It can be bittersweet for our animal care staff and volunteers but we love that this little harbor seal chub started the rest of his life back in the ocean this week. Want to learn more? We are always happy to have visitors! Volunteer docents are on hand to share stories like this guy's every day from 10am - 4pm. Come say hi to our seal and sea lion patients this weekend!
Ready, set... go! It was so heartwarming to watch our last two harbor seal patients return back to their ocean home. This male and female are now nice and chunky and ready to fend for themselves. We'll miss their sweet faces and wish them well out in the wild. What a day!
Our male harbor seal patient has his eyes on the prize. His ocean home awaits after being with us since stranding as a newborn pup. A lot of time and care went into his rehabilitation and we're so thrilled that he's finally ready to go home.
Two of my new best friends Bob and Al. We got to kiss. Pretty wild. More of the kids doing tricks and playing with this wonderful pair of rescued dolphins. Our cousin is a marine life rescue worker so we got a little fun before we head out. More photos plus video on Instastory today. If you are ever in the keys you must head over there and spend some time with them! They do great work too if you are looking for a place to donate:) @bob_hackett @evan.haxor #dolphins#dolphin#marinemammalrescue#keylargo @dolphinsplus
PAINTING FOR PINNIPEDS!
Join us at Marine Mammal Care Centre LA and learn how to paint this smooching elephant seal picture from local artist, Bob Rossoff.
Saturday, October 7th
10am - 12pm
In the MMCC LA classroom, $40 per person, pay cash or check at the event.
All ages and levels welcome! All materials are included and refreshments will be served.
For more info, contact Bob at (323) 316-4162. Partial proceeds benefit MMCC LA and you get to take home your beautiful artwork. 👍🎨