Marine Mammal Center Shares Good News After Sea Lion's Sad Passing
Adorable Sea Lion Pup Is Doing Well and Will Soon Be Released
Rescued Harbor Seal "Vinny" Passed Away But California Sea Lion "Umlaut" Thrives
The oddest thing about sea lions, harbor seals, and similar marine mammals is that even though they are capable of slashing you with their razor-sharp teeth and whipping you half to death with their massive tails and dragging you underwater and drowning you is that they can make you utterly weak in the knees with their widdo-bitty faces and otherwise incredible adorableness; this is why I congratulate the non-profit organization, the Marine Mammal Center, in its continued fantastic volunteer work in promoting conservation and education about these fascinating endangered creatures.
Giancarlo Rulli, Marketing and Communications Associate at the Marine Mammal Center, reports that a harbor seal named "Vinny", who was recently rescued and treated by volunteers at the center, (on the morning of January 5th), passed away due to causes that are currently unknown; however, another patient, a young California sea lion named "Umlaut," appears to be thriving.
"The 130-pound harbor seal Vinny was rescued by trained volunteers from the center's Monterey Bay Operations at Rio Del Mar State Beach near Santa Cruz," Rulli states. "While our mission is to return all of our patients back to their ocean home, any time a patient in our care doesn't make it, they receive a full necropsy, or animal autopsy, which teaches us more about the species and the ocean environment as a whole; a necropsy is planned for early next week, [January 7 to 13], to try and determine the animal's cause of death. It's also not known at this time whether the seal was male or female."
Rulli, however, reports the happy revival of one of the center's current patients:
"'Umlaut', a juvenile male California sea lion, was rescued by trained volunteers from the center on December 12 at Cowell Ranch State Beach in San Mateo County and is rehabilitating well in the MMC's care," Rulli says. "The approximately 2-3-year-old sea lion has been in treatment these past three weeks for leptospirosis, [a bacterial infection of the kidneys], a slight heart murmur, and malnutrition. The male sea lion has gained more than 45 pounds in rehabilitation and has responded well to antibiotics at our Sausalito hospital. Umlaut was just given a clean bill of health by center veterinarians a few days ago and is set for release back to his ocean home next week."
How You Can Help
For those who are interested in the continued preservation of marine mammal life, as well as the continued preservation of all of their toes and fingers, Rulli offers tips for safe animal viewing. Cute, playful, and cuddly though these beings are, humans need to remain cautious. "The Marine Mammal Center reminds the public to enjoy all marine mammals from a safe distance, and to call the center's 24-hour rescue hotline at 415-289-SEAL if you suspect there's a problem," states Rulli.
Tips to Safely Share the Beaches
"The best thing for people to do is to keep their distance; keep a distance of at least 50 feet," Rulli says.
"If an animal appears ill or injured, don't try to intervene. Call the center's 24-hour rescue hotline at 415-289-SEAL (7325). The center will monitor the animal, and, if necessary, trained staff will rescue it safely.
"Don't touch, and do not pick up, pour water on, or feed marine mammals. They are wild animals and can bite. They are also easily stressed by humans.
"Do not attempt to return an animal to the water. Seals and sea lions temporarily "haul-out" on land to rest. Harbor seal mothers often leave their pups ashore while they're feeding at sea. A beached whale, dolphin, or porpoise should be reported immediately," Rulli quotes.
Tips Relevant to Young Pups
"The distinctive 'Mah! Mah!' cry of a harbor seal pup may sound like a call for help, but it's never a good idea to interfere," Rulli continues. "The mother may be just off-shore foraging for food for her pup, and if a human or dog gets too close, she may abandon the pup altogether.
"Elephant seal pups should also be enjoyed from a safe distance. Like their harbor seal counterparts, they are quite photogenic on the beach and susceptible to encroachment," Rulli says.
"Keeping a safe distance goes for drones too. Flying a drone too close to a resting seal or sea lion could harass or negatively alter its behavior, a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act; please remember to fly your drone responsibly and film wildlife at a safe distance," Rulli concludes.
I encourage all marine mammal life fans to learn as much as they can about the wonders of sea life and the conservation of its awe-inspiring inhabitants; and because I know about as much about this topic as the average retarded pink fairy armadillo, it's a relief to know that the Marine Mammal Center fortunately offers a wealth of information at marinemammalcenter.org, where viewers can learn more about tours, volunteering, and donating.
Also be sure to follow MMC's Twitter page in order to stay in the loop about the center's animal rescues, and other important activities and events.