The Marine Mammal Center reminds coastal residents and visitors to "Leave Seals Be" and to call the 24-hour response hotline (listed below by region).
The goal of the campaign is to discourage illegal pick-ups of newborn harbor seal pups on beaches that many members of the public mistakenly believe have been abandoned by their seal mothers.
While we are able to rehabilitate orphaned and injured harbor seal pups, there is no substitute for the care and feeding these pups receive from their mothers as mother's milk contains important antibodies that help build the young pup's immune system.
Therefore, well-meaning beachgoers who attempt to help these pups by taking them home, returning them to the water, covering them with a blanket, or approaching them too close, actually are doing more harm then good. Also, harbor seals, along with all marine mammals, are protected under The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 making it illegal and punishable by law to "take" marine mammals without a permit or to harm or harass them.
Here’s How You Can Help!
If you see a seal in distress, call our rescue and response (415) 289-SEAL - For the Bay Area (including Point Reyes National Seashore, Bolinas, Richmond, Sausalito, and Pescadero)
(415) 289-SEAL - For the Anchor Bay and Fort Bragg region (including Sonoma and Mendocino coastlines, Jenner, the Sea Ranch and MacKerricher areas)
(805) 771-8300 - For the Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo region (including southern Big Sur, Moonstone Drive in Cambria and Shell Beach areas)
(831) 633-6298 - For the Monterey Bay region (including San Lorenzo River, Pebble Beach, and northern Big Sur areas)
After your call is placed, the Center will monitor the pup for 24 hours or more, depending on the situation, and if necessary trained volunteers and staff will rescue it safely. Also check out our What to do if you find a stranded marine mammal page.
Get involved and spread the word!
- Keep our rescue card with you - you can download and print one here!
- Spread the word by distributing this flyer
- Become a Volunteer and get involved with the day-to-day care of marine mammals at the Center's hospital