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Vote for Your Favorite Marine Mammal Patient of 2016!

Thanks to caring people like you, we were able to rescue more than 875 seals and sea lions in 2016. Now it’s time to recognize some of the patient stories that left a lasting impression.

February 10, 2017

Here's the breakdown of how the votes went:

Grey Louie, Northern Elephant Seal


Laverne, California Sea Lion 20.9%
Kilo, Hawaiian Monk Seal 20.8%
Heyerdahl, Pacific Harbor Seal 15.1%
Chompers, Guadalupe Fur Seal 10.2%
Mendobaby, Northern Fur Seal 9.4%

January 12, 2017

You can help us choose our Patient of the Year for 2016 from this list of six of our memorable animals. Cast your vote by January 31 to be included in the final decision. We’ll announce our 2016 Patient of the Year in our February e-newsletter. (Sign up now to join our email list!)

Thanks for giving our marine mammal patients a second chance at life—we couldn’t do it without your support!

Voting for Patient of the Year 2016 is now closed. 



Choose your favorite!

Heyerdahl, Pacific Harbor Seal

Heyerdahl – Pacific Harbor Seal

Rescued: March 18, 2016
Released: June 11, 2016
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, maternal separation

Named for a Norwegian adventurer, harbor seal pup Heyerdahl was found alone on a beach just a few days after he was born. With his mother nowhere in sight, our trained rescue volunteers knew he would be unable to survive on his own. Heyerdahl was brought to The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital, where he was started on a four-times-a-day regimen of a special milk formula. After three weeks of care, Heyerdahl transitioned from formula to eating whole fish. Once he gained enough weight, he was released back to his ocean home with a second chance at life.
Kilo, Hawaiian monk seal

Kilo – Hawaiian Monk Seal

Rescued: September 8, 2015
Released: April 30, 2016
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, maternal separation

Our first patient rescued from the Main Hawaiian Islands, Kilo was found orphaned and starving on the privately owned island of Ni’ihau, southwest of Kauai. Kilo was brought to Ke Kai Ola, our Hawaiian monk seal hospital, where our veterinarians found that she weighed just 37 pounds—close to birth weight for a Hawaiian monk seal. She was initially fed fish-mash smoothies until she was able to transition to eating whole fish. After seven months of care, Kilo gained more than 100 pounds and was released in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where she will help rebuild this endangered population.

Laverne, California Sea Lion

Laverne – California Sea Lion

Rescued: May 19, 2016
Released: December 7, 2016
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, pneumonia, eye inflammation

California sea lion pup Laverne came to the Center with malnutrition, severe pneumonia and progressive inflammation in her left eye. Though she recovered from her pneumonia and gained a healthy amount of weight within a few months, her eye health deteriorated and developed into a painful cataract. Laverne underwent cataract surgery in October to remove the damaged lens, allowing her to keep the eye. With the help of a new eye gel treatment that aided in her recovery, Laverne was released in December after seven months of rehabilitation.
Chompers, Guadalupe Fur Seal

Chompers – Guadalupe Fur Seal

Rescued: June 15, 2016
Released: October 6, 2016
Diagnosis: Malnutrition

Chompers, a young female, is one of a record number of Guadalupe fur seals we’ve rescued over the last two years during what experts have called an Unusual Mortality Event for this threatened species. Chompers was extremely emaciated when she stranded on a California beach, indicating that she was unable to find the food she needed to survive in the wild. After four months of care at the Center—and plenty of fish—Chompers was strong enough to return to the ocean. She was released with a temporary satellite tag that has provided researchers with valuable data about this rare species.
Grey Louie, Northern Elephant Seal
Grey Louie

Grey Louie - Northern Elephant Seal

Stranded: January 31, 2016
Relocated: August 3, 2016
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, maternal separation

Elephant seal pup Grey Louie was rescued as a “blackcoat,” meaning he still had the thick dark coat of fur that young pups shed once they are weaned from their mothers. Starving and unable to fend for himself, Grey Louie was brought to the Center for rehabilitation. But after six months, he was still underweight and had not yet learned how to eat fish on his own. Finally, in July, after months of “fish school” training, our dedicated animal care volunteers were successful in teaching Grey Louie to catch fish, and he was able to return to his ocean home with a second chance at life.

Mendobaby – Northern Fur Seal

Rescued: November 5, 2015
Released: February 24, 2016
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, anemia

Northern fur seal pup Mendobaby was found emaciated and lethargic in Mendocino County, the northernmost part of our California rescue range. After arriving at our hospital, Mendobaby was initially fed fish-mash formula until she was strong enough to eat fish on her own. Although she arrived during our record-breaking fur seal season in the fall of 2015, Mendobaby remained in our care for the first two months of 2016 as well. Her feisty attitude was a good indicator that she would be strong enough to survive in the wild, and her adorably furry face landed her a spot on the cover of our annual report

Can’t find your favorite patient of 2016? Share your nomination on The Marine Mammal Center Facebook page!


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