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California sea lion
California sea lion Mini
Press Release

California Sea Lion Pops Up at MINI of Marin in Corte Madera

The Marine Mammal Center responds to a California sea lion after it pops up at MINI of Marin in Corte Madera

Experts at the world’s largest marine mammal hospital are pleased with sea lion Mini’s early progress during treatment 

Forget chickens crossing the road. California sea lion Mini was rescued by trained responders from The Marine Mammal Center last week after being found in a parking lot at Corte Madera’s MINI of Marin car dealership. And no, Mini the sea lion was not browsing year-end deals either. 

Experts note that the wayfaring sea lion likely traveled too far up Corte Madera Marsh State Marine Park, potentially following a food source, before exiting the water and crossing San Clemente Drive. Due to the safety risks posed by the nearby roadway, the animal was immediately rescued and transported to the Center’s Sausalito hospital for rehabilitation. 

“Mini has made great early progress during her rehabilitation and we’re encouraged by her energetic demeanor and active eating skills,” says Dr. Cara Field, Medical Director at The Marine Mammal Center. “Once this animal’s rear flipper heals and bloodwork shows no signs of ill health, our team will return this sea lion back to her ocean home.” 

Mini received a full admission exam shortly after the animal’s rescue on November 2 by Center veterinary experts to check for signs of injury, abnormal neurological behavior, and other potential ailments. Center experts identified the animal as an adult female in excellent body condition besides suffering from joint arthritis in its right rear flipper. 

The team is also taking extra precautions to further limit the amount of interaction and stimulation around her due to some early signs of the animal’s high interest in people. 

The public’s continued support is critical for us to continue to provide world-class expertise and medical care for California sea lion patients like Mini.

“Each of these animals presents an opportunity to learn more about the threats they face in the wild and continue to improve rehabilitation efforts for this sentinel species,” says Dr. Field. 

To help the recovery and release of marine mammals like Mini, The Marine Mammal Center kindly asks supporters to text OCEAN to 41444 to donate. The public can also play an important role in helping the Center respond to seals and sea lions in distress by calling the rescue hotline at 415-289-SEAL (7325). 

As the world’s largest marine mammal hospital, the Center is considered an essential business during the ongoing pandemic, and has continued to rescue and respond to marine mammals in need in a way that is responsible and optimizes safety. An estimated timetable for Mini’s release back to the wild has yet to be determined. 

Experts confirmed the sea lion was previously rehabilitated and released last summer for a swollen jaw and neck wounds by California Stranding Network partner The Marine Mammal Care Center based in San Pedro, CA.

For more information or to set up an interview on this topic, please contact us at



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Cara Field
California Sea Lion