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Milestone Sea Lion Spotted in the Wild

Our 10,000th California sea lion has been re-sighted in the wild looking healthy. Since his rescue four years ago, we have rescued more than 2,600 sea lions in need of help.

August 3, 2015

Milestone (center) was recently resighted in the wild.
© The Marine Mammal Center

Four years ago, volunteers from The Marine Mammal Center rescued a juvenile male California sea lion from the Santa Cruz Wharf. The 111-pound animal’s lethargic and abnormal behavior was a clear indicator that he was ill, and a full veterinary exam at our hospital in Sausalito confirmed that he was suffering from leptospirosis, a bacterial kidney infection.

This animal was just one of 186 sea lions admitted for leptospirosis that year, but his arrival at our hospital was a notable one: He was the 10,000th California sea lion rescued by the Center since 1975, earning him the name “Milestone.”

Leptospirosis can be fatal for sea lions, but Milestone was successfully treated by the Center’s veterinary experts and was released back to the wild several weeks after his arrival.

Four years later, we’re proud to report that he has been spotted again at the Santa Cruz Wharf! This time, he looks healthy—and much bigger than the 135 pounds he weighed when we last saw him. The small bump on his head, known as a sagittal crest, indicates that he is transitioning into adulthood and may soon be able to sire pups of his own.

Reflecting back on Milestone’s rescue, it’s difficult not to think about the historic year we’ve had so far in 2015. As our hospital has grown in size and rescue range over our 40-year history, we’ve taken in more and more California sea lions over the years.

It took 36 years to rescue our 10,000th sea lion. Our 11,000th California sea lion, Epic, was rescued in the spring of 2014—just 2 years and 9 months later. And just in the last 15 months, we have rescued 1,661 more sea lions, and more than 1,200 of those sea lions were rescued this year!

These impressive numbers tell an important story: our ocean environment is changing, in part due to human impacts, such as climate change, pollution and overfishing. That’s why your support is even more meaningful than ever to ensure that we can rescue and care for the marine mammals affected by our changing ocean environment.

A close-up view of Milestone.
© The Marine Mammal Center

You Can Make a Difference
Help provide the critical care that California sea lions like Milestone need to be successfully returned to their ocean home. Your support goes a long way to help all of our patients get a second chance at life.


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