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Marine Mammal Center

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The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary research hospital and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals – primarily elephant seals, harbor seals, and California sea lions. Since 1975, we’ve been headquartered in Sausalito, CA in the Marin Headlands within the Golden Gate National Parks, and have rescued and treated more than 17,500 marine mammals.

Science – the Key to Understanding Marine Mammal Health:

During rehabilitation of the animals, our research team studies the causes of their illnesses and by doing so, learns about conditions affecting the health of marine mammal populations and the oceans – conditions that can affect humans as well. Our core research includes studying domoic acid poisoning in sea lions, bacterial infections such as leptospirosis, and even cancer, which is found in approximately 17% of adult sea lions that undergo post mortem at our hospital.

Inspiring Stewardship of Our Oceans:

Our education programs teach nearly 30,000 students and adults each year about marine mammals and the urgent need for environmental stewardship of earth’s marine environments, with the goal of inspiring ocean conservation. Our school programs are designed to support the California State Academic Standards for science. Additionally, our Youth Volunteer Program provides teenage ocean stewards with hands-on experience as volunteers working with animal care crews or as education docents.

Our New Home:

In 2009, we opened a new facility in our original location in the Marin Headlands. This four-year, $32 million transformation has considerably improved our ability to care for and study marine mammals, provides a collaborative work environment for staff and volunteers, and now offers the public the opportunity to learn about the interdependence they share with marine mammals and the ocean through exhibits and open viewing of animal care and work areas.

Our new Center is one of the largest marine mammal hospitals in the world to combine animal rehabilitation with an onsite research lab. We can care for up to 200 animals at once and treat 600 or more a year.

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