10,000 Days – Sea Lion Hospital History

We are proud to share a milestone achievement: on February 16, 2020, we celebrated our 10,000th day of operations!

For over 10,000 days, our dedicated veterinary and husbandry team has provided same-day medical care, food and shelter for more than 8,000 seals and sea lions that needed treatment for gunshot wounds, shark bites, malnutrition, ocean parasites, entanglement in fishing nets and lines, and injuries from ocean trash and plastic.  

Every year, the Center rescues and rehabilitates hundreds of stranded marine mammals from over 70 miles of coastline and beaches in Los Angeles County, from Point Dume to Seal Beach. In 2018, we provided shelter, treatment, and rehabilitation to over 350 stranded marine animals that washed up Los Angeles beaches and this year we expect as many or more. The 5 species we treat regularly are California Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, Harbor Seals, and Fur Seals born in ocean habitats near Mexico and Canada.  We also help injured dolphins that are rescued by providing medical triage and transport to the hospital in San Diego that is set up for shelter of larger marine mammals.

MMCC provides the absolutely critical function of allowing sick and injured marine animals the care needed to recover until they can be returned to their ocean home. Often these patients are malnourished motherless pups. These animals (some as large as 500 pounds) cannot be left on our beaches to interact with humans – both species pose a threat to one another when they come in contact.

At present, MMCC has only the funds to pay its hardworking veterinary and animal care staff through June 2020. In order to guarantee operations through seal and sea lion seasonal migration, which is the Center’s next busy season (i.e., from January – June 2021), MMCC must raise $1M by July 1, 2020. If MMCC does not meet this fundraising minimum, we will be forced to close our doors and transfer any remaining animals to out of area hospitals, leaving no 24/7 facility in Los Angeles County to take in animals that strand. And if we close our doors, there is a significant question as to which government entity will pick up stranded marine mammals on our beaches and then where they would take them.

Our Center was built in 1992 by the owners of Marineland, in collaboration with LAUSD. A foundation run by those owners funded the Center in total for 25 years at no cost to our community or government. In 2016-17, the organization was passed off by these owners and asked to find its own way with an endowment to last a few years. Since then, leadership created MMCC (a 501c3), diligently made inroads into the philanthropic community, and MMCC consistently raised about $700,000 each year. Unfortunately, the costs to run the Center are a minimum of $1M annually and during high mortality seasons our costs have far exceeded that sum. As a result, we are at the tail end of our endowment and fundraising through private donors has not met the demands of the number of animals we have been tasked with rehabilitating.

MMCC is able to operate only with the help of individual donors, charitable foundations, our local, regional and state governments, and the dedicated support of over 150 caring volunteers who thaw a thousand pounds of fish per day, scrub and clean enclosures before meals, hand-feeding hungry seals and sea lions, and keep detailed medical records

We invite you to support our ocean conservation efforts!  We are seeking sustainability level funding to ensure the hospital can continue operations indefinitely. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about how you can help.

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