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Vote for Your Favorite Marine Mammal Patient of 2017!

Thanks to caring people like you, we were able to rescue more than 650 marine mammals in 2017. Now it’s time to recognize some of the patient stories that left a lasting impression.

February 6, 2018

Voting for Patient of the Year for 2017 is now closed.

Here's how you voted:

Yankee Doodle, Southern Sea Otter


Orpheus, Northern Fur Seal 21%
Lele-aka, Hawaiian Monk Seal 15%
Rebel Princess, Pacific Harbor Seal 14%
Rudy Miramontes, Guadalupe Fur Seal 12%
Kehoe, Northern Elephant Seal 8%
Argus, California Sea Lion 6%

Want to give your favorite patients even more love? Every one of our Patient of the Year nominees is available as a downloadable Adopt-a-Seal®! Your symbolic adoption comes with an adoption certificate featuring the patient’s photo and story, and proceeds support the care of future patients.

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



Choose your favorite!

Argus Argus – California Sea Lion
Rescued: October 4, 2017
Released: October 25, 2017
Diagnosis: Leptospirosis

California sea lion Argus was rescued just a few miles from The Marine Mammal Center near a busy marina. Our veterinary experts determined that he was suffering from leptospirosis, a bacterial infection of the kidneys. Argus was one of several dozen California sea lions we treated for leptospirosis in 2017. Treatment for the potentially lethal infection includes antibiotics, fluids and other supportive care, such as gastro-protectants for stomach and intestinal ulcers. Once Argus had recovered fully from the disease, he was released back to the wild just steps from our hospital.
Kehoe Kehoe – Northern Elephant Seal

Rescued: January 15, 2017
Released: April 20, 2017
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, maternal separation

Northern elephant seal pup Kehoe was one of the first pups rescued in 2017. She was found alone on a beach with abrasions on her chin and flippers, indicating that she may have been tossed around in the rough surf during a strong winter storm. Kehoe was too young to be on her own without her mother to nurse her, so our animal care experts tube-fed her with a special fish smoothie formula until she began eating whole fish. After three months of care, Kehoe was released back to the wild with a second chance at life.
Lele-aka Lele-aka – Hawaiian Monk Seal
Rescued: August 25, 2016
Released: May 25, 2017
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, maternal separation
Hawaiian monk seal pup Lele-aka was severely underweight when she was found alone on a beach without her mother in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Her name means “milky way” in Hawaiian, and the stars aligned for this pup when she was brought to Ke Kai Ola, our Hawaiian monk seal hospital in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Lele-aka was initially fed fish-mash smoothies until she was strong enough to transition to eating whole fish. After nine months of care, Lele-aka regained her health and was released back in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islandswhere she will help rebuild this endangered population.
Orpheus Orpheus – Northern Fur Seal
Rescued: July 29, 2017
Released: October 9, 2017
Diagnosis: Domoic acid toxicity, abscess, bone infection

Northern fur seal Orpheus is one of fewer than 40 adult northern fur seals we’ve rescued in our 42-year history. When she was admitted to our hospital, she was suffering from domoic acid poisoningafter eating fish contaminated with a toxin produced by harmful algal blooms. She also had an injury on her hind flipper that was so severe our veterinarians had to amputate it. Fortunately for Orpheus, northern fur seals have powerful front flippers, allowing her to survive with only one hind flipper intact. Following more than two months of treatment, Orpheus was released back to the wild.
Rebel Princess Rebel Princess - Pacific Harbor Seal
Stranded: April 2, 2017
Relocated: May 24, 2017
Diagnosis: Maternal separation

Harbor seal pup Rebel Princess was found alone on a beach at just a few days old. He was so young that he still had part of his umbilical cord attached when he was rescued, indicating that he should have been with his mother nursing. Rebel Princess was tube-fed a special milk formula four times a day for several weeks. Once his teeth grew in, he was able to start eating herring and learn how to compete with other sealsto catch fish. After about two months of care, Rebel Princess was strong enough to survive on his own in the wild.
Rudy Miramontes
Rudy Miramontes – Guadalupe Fur Seal
Rescued: March 5, 2017
Released: June 9, 2017
Diagnosis: Malnutrition

Guadalupe fur seal pup Rudy Miramonteswas emaciated and in very poor body condition when she was rescued. You’d think an animal like that would be eager to eat, but Rudy was a stubborn fur seal that refused to go after the fish tossed to her each day. Our dedicated animal care experts ensured Rudy got the nutrition she needed through special tube feedings multiple times a day. Once this stubborn fur seal pup decided to start eating fish on her own and had gained a healthy amount of weight, she was released back to the wild where she may one day have a pup of her own to feed.
Yankee Doodle
Yankee Doodle – Southern Sea Otter
Rescued: July 3, 2017
Released: October 24, 2017
Diagnosis: Domoic acid toxicity, Toxoplasmosis

Southern sea otter Yankee Doodle arrived at the Center’s hospital on the evening of July 3, earning him his patriotic nickname. He exhibited signs of brain disease in addition to being lethargic, underweight and malnourished for his age. Additional tests confirmed that Yankee Doodle was suffering from domoic acid poisoning after eating shellfish contaminated with a toxin produced by harmful algal blooms. His bloodwork also indicated that he was battling toxoplasmosis, which can cause fatal brain infections. After three months of treatment that included fluids, antibiotics and a rich diet of restaurant-quality seafood, Yankee Doodle was released back to his ocean home.

Can’t find your favorite patient of 2017? Share your nomination on The Marine Mammal Center Facebook page!


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