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What We Do

At The Marine Mammal Center, we are guided and inspired by a shared vision of a healthy ocean for marine mammals and humans alike. Our mission is to advance global ocean conservation through marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education.

Find out about our work, our organization, and our facilities. Read the latest news about our patients and the stories of their dramatic rescues. Learn about the 42-year history of The Marine Mammal Center.

Our new hospital in Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is making great strides to save the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

Our rescue range extends along 600 miles of California coast. Learn all about why marine mammals strand and how we respond to each situation.

After an animal is rescued, we bring it to our hospital. After a successful rehabilitation, the ultimate goal is to release the animal back to the ocean.

Responding Responsibly

We rescue marine mammals for many different reasons, including malnourishment, separation, entanglements, and diseases, but nearly 10% of the animals we rescue have been impacted by human interaction and hazards like net and fishing line entanglements, gun shots, illegal pick-ups, and boat strikes – making their rescue all the more our responsibility.

Recognizing Interdependence

What we do is more than kind-hearted consideration for the well-being of other living creatures. We recognize the fundamental relationship that binds humans, animals, and the ocean. Covering more than 70% of our planet, the ocean is Earth's primary life-support system – and these animals are critical bellwethers of its health. By caring for them, we care for all of life.

Expanding Knowledge

We partner with leading scientists and other professionals in order to learn from the patients in our care - patients from healthy, endangered, and at-risk populations - and to expand and advance scientific knowledge, thus enhancing understanding of the health of our oceans and the implications for human health. We disseminate knowledge to members of the scientific community and the general public. Ultimately, we inspire action and foster stewardship towards the care of our environment.

Our Responsibility. Our Passion. Our Values.

  • We rescue and humanely treat ill, injured, or orphaned marine mammals, and return healthy ones to the wild. Since 1975, our hospital facility has rescued and treated over 20,000 elephant seals, sea lions, whales, sea otters, harbor seals, fur seals, dolphins, harbor porpoises and more – many from threatened and endangered species.
  • We educate and communicate to help build a sense of responsibility and connection to the marine environment and marine mammals, and inspire action to protect the oceans. Each year, our education programs and events reach over 30,000 children and adults.
  • We conduct scientific inquiry to increase knowledge of marine mammals, their health and their environment, and to help assure their long-term survival. Our science programs derive vital data from our sick and injured patients - what diseases they suffer, how their immune systems work, and how they're affected by changes in their environment.

Our People

Our work relies on hundreds of people just like you. More than 1,200 volunteers from throughout our 600 mile rescue range – from Mendocino County through San Luis Obispo County – are a vital part of what we do from rescue through rehabilitation, release and education.

Your Help Counts!

You are absolutely critical to our work. Federal law protects marine mammals, but we rely on your support so we can help them when that protection fails. We started in 1975 from the efforts of three local citizens, and ever since, it's been our members, volunteers, and supporters who make it possible for us to continue. Only with your help can we succeed – please join us in working together to make a better future for individual marine mammals and all of us. Learn more.

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