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Found with fishing net wrapped around his neck, Gooseneck was in a horrifying situation. Entangled animals like him are often weak, skinny and in urgent need of care.

Today, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar. That means you’ll be making twice as many meals and meds possible for an injured animal like Gooseneck.

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Guadalupe fur seal Gooseneck on an orange heating pad
California sea lion pup Hoppie rests on the edge of a rehabilitation pool
Patient Update

California Sea Lion Hoppie Takes a Leap and Ends Up Miles Inland

May 6, 2014
  • Malnutrition

California sea lion Hoppie found himself up a river with no way home—until The Marine Mammal Center came to the rescue.

California sea lions are found all along the coast from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. They spend time swimming, feeding and playing out in the ocean as well as hauling out on shore to rest. But one place you are unlikely to see a California sea lion is in an inland area, miles from the beach.

That is, unless you’re in the area around Modesto, California, which, surprisingly, has been the site of more than one rescue by The Marine Mammal Center.

Recently, a small California sea lion was spotted in San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, more than a 100-mile drive inland. Named by the person who found him, “Hoppie” had swum up the San Joaquin River. The Marine Mammal Center dispatched a team to rescue the lost sea lion, and he arrived at our hospital on March 31.

The Center’s veterinary staff examined Hoppie and determined that he was underweight and malnourished – not surprising since he was so far from his ocean food source.

Another animal rescued far from home was Chippy, one of our most well-known patients. In 2004, he was found by police officers near Los Baños, California, just a short distance south of where Hoppie was rescued.

Chippy, a 315-pound adult California sea lion, had also traveled up the San Joaquin River channel – but his journey ended atop a police cruiser! Veterinarians at the Center discovered that Chippy had been shot and a bullet was lodged in the soft tissue behind his skull.

After about a month of rehabilitation, Chippy was released back to the wild near Point Reyes National Seashore. (But the mystery of who shot him has never been solved.)

Like Chippy, Hoppie was lucky enough to receive a second chance at life thanks to caring people like you. After gaining a healthy amount of weight, he was released at Chimney Rock in Point Reyes National Seashore. 

Hoppie completed his long journey, which began with a 100-mile swim up the San Joaquin River, by returning to his natural habitat in the ocean. During the month he spent rehabilitating at The Marine Mammal Center, Hoppie became a media superstar and touched the hearts of people all over the world.

His release back to the wild, along with two other sea lion pups Eugene and Fenimore, was well attended by the public and the media, including the San Francisco Chronicle, KTVU, and KCBS. Also in attendance was Hoppie's namesake Eric Hopson, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who first reported to the Center that a wayward sea lion was found in an orchard near Modesto.

Yes, I want to save a life!

Yes, I want to save a life!

You’ll be giving sick and injured animals the best possible care at the Center’s state-of-the-art hospital. With your gift today, you are giving a patient a second chance at life in the wild.

  • $35 You'll buy food for a hungry animal
  • $45 You'll provide life-saving medical care
  • $65 You'll make second chances possible

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California Sea Lion