The Marine Mammal Center's rescue range extends along 600 miles of central and northern California coastline from San Luis Obispo through Mendocino counties.
To facilitate our mission of rescuing and rehabilitating marine mammals, we have field offices located in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties. We rely heavily on volunteers living in each part of our range to assess stranded animals, rescue them if necessary, provide triage and emergency care, and transport the animals using a relay system to our full-service veterinary hospital in Sausalito. At our hospital, other volunteers work in partnership with veterinary staff to rehabilitate the animals. All volunteers are welcome to participate in releases.
In addition to the facilities in California, The Marine Mammal Center has a Hawaiian monk seal hospital, which opened in September 2014. Ke Kai Ola (The Healing Sea) is located in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Anchor Bay Operations (ABO) and Fort Bragg Operations (FBO)
The Marine Mammal Center's Anchor Bay Operations (ABO) and Fort Bragg Operations (FBO) rescue animals along the northernmost part of our rescue range. Volunteers cover the area from Fort Ross in northern Sonoma County to the Sinkyone Wilderness in Mendocino County. As a designated wilderness area, the Sinkyone Wilderness is closed to us for rescues unless special permission is granted from the National Marine Fisheries Service and California State Parks.
ABO began in 1993 when Mike and Jennie Henderson, then managers of Anchor Bay Campground in Gualala, Mendocino County, began reporting many stranded marine mammals to The Marine Mammal Center. Staff and volunteers from The Center would drive three and a half hours north from Sausalito to attempt the rescue. The Hendersons reasoned it would be more efficient for local volunteers to assess and rescue the animal and submitted a proposal to The Center. The Center gratefully accepted and, in exchange, provided training and equipment. ABO evolved into two subgroups in 2004, and FBO was officially established although many volunteers had been active for several years. Currently, volunteers operate from equipment bases in Fort Bragg and Sea Ranch areas.
The Marine Mammal Center
2000 Bunker Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
24-Hour Rescue Hotline: 415.289.SEAL (main dispatch)
Fax: 415.289.7333 (main hospital fax)
Volunteers are always needed for animal assessment, rescue, triage, and transport. Training is provided. A minimum commitment of two hours per month on an "on-call" basis is required. Prospective volunteers should be aware that rescues for ABO and FBO are occasional, and there may be long periods of inactivity.
To volunteer, contact the Stranding department at 415.289.7350. For more information, contact ABO@tmmc.org.
Monterey Bay Operations (MBO)
The Marine Mammal Center's Monterey Bay Operations (MBO) rescues animals from both Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. From a modest beginning, MBO has grown to approximately 80 volunteers and one paid staff member.
Although volunteers in Santa Cruz had been operating out of private homes since 1980, it was not until 1993 that MBO was officially designated a field office triage facility. At this time, The Center received permission to locate a trailer and a few pens on an unused piece of PG&E property along Moss Landing Harbor. Plans for a new facility at MBO began in 1999 when Duke Energy purchased the Moss Landing Power Plant from PG&E and began planning to reuse the land upon which MBO sat. Understanding the importance of The Center's activities, however, Duke offered to help move the MBO site to a quiet piece of land on a remote part of their property. MBO volunteers now operate out of this location.
Monterey Bay Operations
The Marine Mammal Center
P.O. Box 778
Moss Landing, CA 95039
24-Hour Rescue Hotline: 831.633.6298
Volunteers are always needed for animal assessment, rescue, triage, transport, and equipment/site/vehicle maintenance. Additionally, volunteers assist with public outreach and education programs. Training is provided. A minimum commitment of ten hours per month is required. Prospective volunteers should be aware that rescues for MBO are seasonal, and there may be periods of inactivity.
To volunteer, please contact our MBO office at 831.633.6298. For more information, call 831.633.6298 or e-mail MBO@tmmc.org.
San Luis Obispo Operations (SLO)
The Marine Mammal Center's San Luis Obispo Operations (SLO) rescues animals along the southernmost part of our rescue range. Approximately 60 volunteers service San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County to Point Sal.
SLO began in 1993 with volunteers recruited from Pacific Wildlife Care a group involved in rehabilitating sea birds and land mammals. Prior to that time, volunteers were driving up to five hours one way from Sausalito to rescue animals. Sometimes they would arrive to find that the animals were long gone. Since 1993, SLO volunteers have been operating out of private homes and garages. A daily team leader receives calls dispatched from The Center's 24-hour hotline and, in turn, contacts local volunteers to coordinate a rescue. Trained volunteers administer food and medication and, once stabilized, the animal begins its journey north.
In January 2006, our San Luis Obispo volunteers moved into the brand new rescue and triage center in Morro Bay. Duke Energy, our hosts for our Monterey Bay Operations, recognized the importance of our work and donated additional property for our Morro Bay operations. The property is shared with Pacific Wildlife Care who is constructing a facility for oiled birds.
San Luis Obispo Operations
The Marine Mammal Center
1385 Main St.
Morro Bay, CA
Rescue Line: 805.771.8300
Volunteers are always needed for animal assessment, rescue, triage, transport, and equipment/vehicle maintenance. Volunteers also assist with public outreach and education programs. Training is provided. A minimum commitment of four hours per month on an "on-call" basis is required. Prospective volunteers should be aware that rescues for SLO are seasonal, and there may be periods of inactivity.
Prospective volunteers in San Luis Obispo County may attend one of several orientations held throughout the year. For more information call 805.771.8300, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ke Kai Ola
The Marine Mammal Center's Hawaiian monk seal hospital is now open in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.
73-731 Makako Bay Drive
Rescue Line: 808.987.0765
73-4460 Queen Ka’ahumanu Hwy, Ste 112
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Volunteers at The Marine Mammal Center on Hawai`i Island respond to and monitor Hawaiian monk seals on the island's beaches, provide animal husbandry to the patients on-site at our hospital, Ke Kai Ola, and educate the next generation of ocean stewards at community events and schools.
Other Marine Mammal Stranding Contacts in California
A number of other organizations have responsibility for marine mammals stranded in areas to the north and south of our 600-mile range. NOAA Fisheries, West Coast Region, has published a useful map of California showing the respective ranges of each of these organizations. The map, in PDF format, can be downloaded here: