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This Is Epic: Meet The Marine Mammal Center’s 11,000th Sea Lion

Founded by three volunteers in 1975, The Marine Mammal Center has grown into the world’s largest rehabilitation hospital for marine mammals.

May 29, 2014

Epic Release
Epic was one of 25 sea lions that were released at Chimney Rock on May 23.
© Emily Warchol, The Marine Mammal Center


Epic goes home! He was released at Chimney Rock, in the Point Reyes National Seashore, on Friday, May 23. He was part of a group of 25 sea lions released that day, a large number that is testimony to the extraordinary number of patients we have rescued this year. Epic, the 11,000th sea lion that has been rescued by the Center in our almost 40-year history, is now back in the ocean where he belongs.

The big release came just one day after 10 elephant seals were released at the same location. One of them can be seen in the photo above, still enjoying the beach at Chimney Rock, a natural haul out location for elephant seals. He can be identified as one of our former patients by the red hat tag on his head.

May 2, 2014

Epic Sea Lion
Epic is the 11,000th sea lion rescued by The Marine Mammal Center. © The Marine Mammal Center - Sarah van Schagen

This week, we rescued our 11,000th California sea lion, and in honor of our journey over the last 39 years, we’ve named him “Epic.”

Epic was found near Breakwater Cove in Monterey Harbor. The Marine Mammal Center’s rescue team was actually in the area checking on a different animal when they came across this skinny little California sea lion.

They could tell from his poor physical condition that he was in desperate need of care. Epic was so thin that his ribcage was clearly visible under his skin.


Epic weighed just 36 pounds when he was admitted to our hospital on April 27. Estimated to be almost two years old, Epic should weigh nearly twice that. During his admit exam, our veterinary experts described him as “emaciated and malnourished.”

Epic is being fed herring multiple times a day to help him regain his strength, as well as a vitamin B supplement important for malnourished animals. He has been eating well since his arrival here, and we’re hopeful that he will fully recover and be able to return to the wild once again.

Epic Sea Lion body
Epic the sea lion was just skin and bones at the time of his admission to the Center.
© Sarah van Schagen, The Marine Mammal Center


While Epic’s rescue represents a special milestone in our 39-year history, his condition, unfortunately, is not unique. We have seen an unusually high number of starving young sea lions this season. And with those animals coming in just as we are reaching peak elephant seal and harbor seal pup season, we’ve got animals in every pen and pool.

We’re in the middle of our busiest season ever—with more animals admitted over the course of the last four months than we’ve ever seen this early in the year. With all of these seals and sea lions in our care, we’re going through 1,000 pounds of fish a day. And that fish costs about $1 a pound.

We need your help to ensure all of our patients get the fish they need to grow strong and healthy. For just $1 a pound, you can buy a seal a meal and help give these animals a second chance at life.



Learn about: California sea lions

Join the campaign to Stop Trashing our Oceans

Learn how you can: Get Involved to Help Marine Mammals!


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