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Dawn Saves Wildlife

Dawn Saves Wildlife and The Marine Mammal Center are working together to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals who are sick or have been affected by oil pollution.

Effects of Oil Spills
When oil spills into and pollutes the water, it is extremely dangerous to wildlife, and marine mammals are impacted in various ways. Heavily furred animals, such as sea otters and fur seals, rely on their thick coat to maintain warmth and buoyancy.

Even a tiny amount of oil will alter their fur, which will quickly put them at risk for hypothermia. For marine mammals without heavy fur, such as seals, sea lions, whales and dolphins, their blubber will protect them from the cold, but they are at risk for skin exposure, fume inhalation and ingestion.

Northern fur seal Koochooloo was rescued with tar on his belly. / Photo by Ingrid Overgard © The Marine Mammal Center

Saving Wildlife
The Marine Mammal Center rescues animals each year that are found with tar or oil patches on their bodies. Our veterinarians quickly remove the tar or oil by either trimming the animal’s fur or thoroughly washing the fur with Dawn dish soap. Particularly for fur seals, it’s important that we fully remove the patch of tar or oil quickly so that the seals are able to thermoregulate, or maintain their temperature.

For more than 30 years, Dawn has helped over 75,000 animals who have been affected by oil pollution and given thousands of bottles of dish soap to its wildlife rescue partners like The Marine Mammal Center. Dawn dish soap is tough on grease and oil pollution, but gentle enough for wildlife.

Watch an episode of “The Big Picture,” a documentary series from Dawn, highlighting harbor seal pup CeCe, rescued by The Marine Mammal Center after she was found abandoned by her mom due to human interaction. Learn more about how you can responsibly view wildlife.

How You Can Help

You can join our efforts to give these marine mammals a second chance at life by turning your everyday actions into extraordinary acts of good.

Help send sick and injured marine mammals back to their ocean home by donating today!


Learn more about Dawn's wildlife rescue initiative and how you can get involved by visiting

More About Oil Spill Response
As the world’s largest marine mammal hospital, we are fully prepared to respond to a large oil spill through our partnership with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. In the event of a large oil spill, our hospital includes a staging area that can accommodate impacted marine wildlife. We constantly train our staff and volunteers to be prepared for a large oil spill that would impact marine mammals. Additionally, our veterinarians are well-trained in oil spill response.

Stay In Touch
To stay informed about The Marine Mammal Center's work with oiled wildlife, along with our family-friendly programs, patient updates, upcoming events and more, sign up for our free e-mail updates.

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