Thanks to caring people like you, we rescued over 1,000 animals last year – from starving California sea lion pups to blind elephant seals. And while every patient is important, some of their stories leave a lasting impression.
And the winner of the 2014 favorite Patient of the Year is... Snouty the entangled sea lion – he won by a nose!
Here's the breakdown of how the votes went:
Snouty – California Sea Lion
Solar – Northern Elephant Seal
Hāla‘I – Hawaiian Monk Seal
Beemer Cruise – Pacific Harbor Seal
Hoppie – California Sea Lion
Sterling Archer – Guadalupe Fur Seal
Thanks to all who participated in this year's voting!
Choose your favorite!
Rescued: March 31, 2014
Released: August 28, 2014
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, cataracts
Solar, a northern elephant seal pup, was blind in both eyes when he was brought to The Marine Mammal Center for rehabilitation. Our veterinary experts coordinated a special operation to restore his vision, and he remained at the Center for about five months while he received special care, including eye drops administered four times a day. He then had to be taught how to catch and eat fish. After proving he could survive on his own, Solar was released at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Rescued: March 31, 2014
Released: May 6, 2014
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, pneumonia
California sea lion pup Hoppie swam up the San Joaquin River and into the hearts of America. He was found in an almond orchard near Modesto, California, more than 100 miles from the coast. His unusual story caught the attention of reporters across the country, and Hoppie became quite the media darling during his stay at the Center. Like many of the young sea lions we had on-site during our busiest pup season on record, Hoppie was malnourished and suffering from pneumonia. After five weeks of rehabilitation, his return to the wild was documented by local media.
Rescued: February 21, 2014
Released: March 28, 2014
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, domoic acid toxicity (acute)
Little is known about Guadalupe fur seals, but Sterling Archer, an adult female rescued this year, is helping change that. Found emaciated and thought to be suffering from domoic acid toxicity, Sterling Archer spent a month recovering at the Center. When she was strong enough to be released, researchers attached a satellite tag to her fur and tracked her journey all the way to the North Pacific Transition Zone, which is known to be a productive feeding ground. Guadalupe fur seals had never been documented in that area of the Pacific Ocean before—an important data point for researchers trying to understand the overall range and feeding habits of this threatened species.
Rescued: June 26, 2014
Released: July 25, 2014
Diagnosis: Entanglement, pneumonia
Our Special Rescue Operations team brought in California sea lion Snouty after he was spotted with a crab snare and fishing line entangled around his face. Snouty was rushed to our hospital, where veterinarians performed a delicate operation to disentangle and remove the debris and repair the severe damage to his snout. After a month of recovery, Snouty was released at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands, just steps from The Marine Mammal Center. Since then, he’s been spotted with his sea lion pals near Monterey, California. Permanently disfigured, but otherwise healthy, Snouty’s face is one we’ll never forget.
Rescued: April 4, 2014
Released: June 7, 2014
Diagnosis: Maternal separation, human interaction
Days-old harbor seal pup Beemer Cruise was scooped off a beach in Monterey by a family in an RV and then chased down the highway by rescue volunteers. When confronted, the would-be harbor seal hostage-takers handed over the pup, and she was brought to The Marine Mammal Center. An admit exam confirmed that Beemer Cruise was healthy, but at that point, without proper care from the Center, she wouldn’t be able to survive without her mother. After a two-month stay, Beemer Cruise returned to the wild where she belonged.
Rescued: July 6, 2014
Released: September 1, 2014
Hāla‘i, a juvenile female Hawaiian monk seal whose Hawaiian name means “calm, peaceful,” was one of the first four patients admitted to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s new hospital in Kona, Hawaii dedicated to saving this endangered species. Hāla‘i was rescued in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where fewer than one in five Hawaiian monk seals survive their first year due to threats like entanglement in ocean trash, changes in the food chain and predation. After two months of care at Ke Kai Ola, she was returned to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where she can help rebuild this critically endangered population.
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