Wildlife Spotlight: California Sea Lion Crisis
Over the past two years, the coast of California has been experiencing a California Sea Lion Unusual Mortality Event (UME). This phenomenon, which is defined as unexpected strandings that involves significant die-off of any marine mammal population, serves as indicators of ocean health and demands immediate response.
With hundreds, even thousands, of sickly, malnourished and emaciated young California sea lions found stranding on beaches rescue organizations have had to work nonstop to save an overwhelming number of animals in their care. For its part, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has been sending its own Animal Care staff to volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) in Sausalito twice a week until the UME is over and the crisis is under control.
Recently, Senior Marine Mammal Trainer Megan Wade volunteered at TMMC for the first time and shared her experience. It was heartening and inspiring for her to help and witness other volunteers and veterinary staff spend hours caring for sick and injured sea lions, elephant seals, and harbor seals.
“The work of The Marine Mammal Center is primarily performed by volunteers, who, with staff, are made up of such dedicated, hardworking and passionate individuals. To see people of so many different backgrounds come together to care for these helpless animals who, at the moment cannot care for themselves calls attention to what we’re all about, the ANIMALS!”
Six Flags has also committed to provide temporary housing and care for those animals determined to be non-releasable, until they can be placed in their forever homes.
For more information about the California Sea Lion Unusual Mortality Event, or to help, donate, or volunteer, visit: www.MarineMammalCenter.org
As a tip, note that it’s very important to contact your local stranding network or local authorities if you discover a sick sea lion on the beach, for its welfare and yours.