The dedicated curatorial staff here at Moody Gardens routinely does great things here on property, but they also do many great things out in the community as well. Recently, two of our Penguin and Seal Biologists, Hector and Allison visited the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach, CA and volunteered to help the stranding center with the large amount of pinniped patients they have this spring. PMMC currently cares for four species of pinnipeds: over 100 California sea lions, a dozen elephant seals, two harbor seals, and two Northern fur seals. Officials have called the large number of strandings an unusual mortality event for California sea lions. It is also rare to see animals like Northern fur seals all the way down in Southern California.
In the week that the biologists were there, they helped with the various tasks the center performs every day from cleaning sinks and sorting fish to scrubbing, feeding, and shifting animals. Some patients were in large groups in large pens competing for fish to prove they were ready to survive on their own after release, and some were still getting individual care to learn how to eat and search for fish. Our biologists worked side by side with PMMC staff and volunteers and a biologist from Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, IA.
On Sunday, May 22, Hector and Allison were able to join several other volunteers in a release of two of the animals they had helped care for. Commanche and Detour were released after several months of rehabilitation.
California sea lions and harbor seals pupping season is early summer. With this approaching, it is important to remember to give animals space on beaches. If in your travels you come upon an animal you think needs help, whether that’s a seabird here in Galveston or a marine mammal on another coast, please do not approach the animal and call a local stranding center for help.
In anticipation of World Oceans Day we thought to include the link of this bittersweet release.