This is the fourth year in a row the Marine Mammal Center has responded to a staggeringly high number of marine mammal strandings

By Kelli Bender
June 20, 2016 02:06 PM
Courtesy of The Marine Mammal Center

Some people call them mer-dogs, or the canines of the sea, either way, we can all agree that seals are absolutely adorable. 

And just like canine pups, sometimes these sea creatures need a helping hand. This is where the Marine Mammal Center and Shedd Aquarium step in. 

This year alone, these two non-profit organizations have teamed up to rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of animals from the waters around Sausalito, California, with the help of thousands of volunteers. Many of these needy swimmers are seal pups — including elephant, Guadalupe fur and California harbor seals — who have found themselves stranded, sick, tangled or hungry.

“There are quite a few reason animals get stranded and each one is different depending on when you find the animal and what condition the animal is in at that point.” Zoë Hagberg animal care expert for the Shedd Aquarium told PEOPLE. 

Marine Mammal Center and Shedd Aquarium treats each rescue as an individual case, giving every animal a unique treatment plan that tackles there needs efficiently, so they can be released back into the wild. 

Courtesy of The Marine Mammal Center

“Last year we treated more the 1,800 animals at this center alone, and we treated 20,000 animals since 1975,” Dr. Jeff Boehm executive director of the Marine Mammal Center added. 

“Every patient we treat is like this little book we get to open that teaches us about their health, the health of their population and, most importantly, the health of the ocean,” he continued.

This is the fourth year in a row the Marine Mammal Center has responded to a staggeringly high number of marine mammal strandings, with 750 rescues in 2016 so far. The center has already beaten its 1998 record for most elephant seals saved in one year, surpassing the 195 record with 210 elephants seals and counting. 

While we aren’t lucky enough to spend our days flipper-to-fingers with these cuties, we can still help make their lives in the wild easier. Almost half of the pups rescued this year needed help after becoming entangled in nets, fishing line and garbage found in the ocean. By treating the world’s oceans with respect and being more aware of how are decisions impact millions of sea animals, we can help the Marine Mammal Center and Shedd Aquarium save lives. 

Courtesy of The Marine Mammal Center

“If you are able to donate your time, the volunteers at the Marine Mammal Center and Shedd are a crucial part to our success. Everybody who donates time is really making an impact and a connection,” Hagberg said. “But there’s lots of small things you can do daily, just being conscientious about the environment around you: not wasting water, not wasting electricity. Little things add up to the big picture.”

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