10,000 Days – Sea Lion Hospital History

We are proud to share a milestone achievement:

Countdown to 10,000 Days:  Join Sea Lion Hospital History. 

We have a fantastic reason to celebrate!  

For nearly 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.  

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 even 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.

Good news! Our 10,000 days of history has been very fruitful, thanks to experienced staff and caring volunteers — for every paid staff we have 10 passionate volunteers!  And, yes, we need everyone of them to contribute their hard work under stressful conditions: thawing a thousand pounds of fish per day, scrubbing and cleaning enclosures before meals, hand-feeding hungry seals and sea lions, and keeping detailed medical records.  We average 300 new patients each year — that’s 5 per week!  

For three years in a row we were deluged with 600, 600 and 700 patients, so many that we had to turn some away or have them wait days to be admitted.  The reward for our hard work is observing healthy seals and sea lions playfully swimming together in pools, getting them ready for the short trip to the ocean, then seeing them look back at us before dashing into the surf  to swim back home.  

In 10,000 days we’ve learned many lessons from interacting with these federally protected marine mammals, lessons that successfully accomplish the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Our research has taught us about birth rates and life-span, trends in eating habits, effects of varying ocean-nutrients on both food supply and water-borne illnesses, progress at minimizing ocean pollution. and improved medical procedures to more promptly and effectively help seals and sea lions that arrived on local beaches in need of help.  It is exciting that our collaborative work with the six other marine mammal hospitals in California has helped stabilize populations of seals and sea lions.   

Speaking of arriving on local beaches, did you know that there are no beaches in L.A. County where an injured seal or sea lion can rest or heal away from people, buildings or roadways?  Thus, stranded seals and sea lions are brought to us after being rescued from all points along the Santa Monica Bay, Long Beach and the Ports.  This means beaches from Point Dume in Malibu to the South Bay to Palos Verdes Peninsula and south, as well as Santa Catalina Island.  Without our hospital, the beaches and ports of Los Angeles would experience quite an environmental and health crisis.  

Our top-quality public service costs $3 per minute, every hour, every day, every month of every year.  We are entirely dependent on the generous support of individual donors, charitable foundations, and the goodwill of people like you.  We do not have regular support from any government agency; but, we are working diligently to create relationships with City, County and State officials to make them aware of the mandatory public service we provide and obtain their financial support.

We invite — and need — you to support our ocean conservation efforts!  Be part of our 10,000 Day milestone in Sea Lion Hospital History and solidify us going forward to provide care for these wonderful creatures for another 10,000 days and beyond.  We appreciate all financial donations.  We benefit from every increase in public awareness.  And, we enjoy collaborations when you volunteer your time at our hospital or at community events.

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