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northern fur seal Mordanne
News Update

Vote for Your Favorite Marine Mammal Patient of 2018!

February 6, 2019

Thanks to caring people like you, we were able to rescue more than 800 marine mammals in 2018.

Thank you for giving our marine mammal patients a second chance at life—none of this would be possible without your support! Now it’s time to recognize some of the most memorable patient stories.

Voting for Patient of the Year for 2018 is now closed.

Here's how you voted:

Snaggle, Guadalupe Fur Seal


Langly, Southern Sea Otter 24%
Woody, Pacific Harbor Seal
Juanita, Northern Elephant Seal
Sole, Hawaiian Monk Seal 9%
Mordanne, Northern Fur Seal 8%
Smores, Steller Sea Lion 5%
Dangela, California Sea Lion 4%

Want to show your favorite patients even more love? Each one of our Patient of the Year nominees is available as a digitally downloadable Adopt-a-Seal®! Your symbolic adoption comes with an adoption certificate featuring the patient’s photo and story, and you'll feel great knowing that your purchase supports the life-saving care of future patients.

Adopt Now

Dangela – California Sea Lion

Rescued: September 12, 2018
Released: October 12, 2018
Diagnosis: Leptospirosis

California sea lion Dangela was found with his flippers tightly folded against his body—a classic sign of leptospirosis. This juvenile sea lion was one of the hundreds of sea lions this year diagnosed with leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be fatal if left untreated. Dangela spent one month receiving life-saving care including antibiotics, fluids and other supportive treatment. Once exams showed he was healthy, Dangela was released back into his ocean home.

California sea lion Dangela

Juanita – Northern Elephant Seal

Rescued: January 22, 2018
Released: June 22, 2018
Diagnosis: Maternal separation, malnutrition

Northern elephant seal Juanita was one of the first patients admitted to our hospital in 2018. She was so young at her time of rescue that she still had her black coat of fur. Elephant seals shed this dark fur once they've weaned from their mother, so our trained responders knew she was too young to be on her own. Juanita was very shy at first, and it took many months for her to gain the confidence to eat whole fish and compete for food with other seals. After six months in rehabilitation, Juanita finally learned how to be a wild elephant seal and was released back into her ocean home.

elephant seal pup Juanita

Langly – Southern Sea Otter

Rescued: May 7, 2018
Diagnosis: Maternal separation

Southern sea otter pup Langly and her mother were rescued after a shark had mistaken them for a meal. Langly’s mother didn’t survive the drive to our hospital, making Langly an orphan. Langly was soon joined by two more otters, and the three of them became great companions. You can imagine that feeding them was quite expensive as otter diets include delicacies such as shrimp, crab and scallops. Once Langly was strong enough, she was fitted with a tracking device so that researchers can learn more about this threatened species when she returns to the wild.

sea otter pup patient Langly

Mordanne – Northern Fur Seal

Rescued: November 2, 2018
Released: January 10, 2019
Diagnosis: Maternal separation, malnutrition

Northern fur seal Mordanne was found far from home near a busy highway. He was starving, weak and much too young to be on his own. Upon admit, Mordanne was just 16 pounds—about half of what he should have weighed at his age. At first, he was tube-fed a nutritious fish mixture to build up his strength. Steadily Mordanne grew stronger, and after about six weeks in our care, he had learned how to eat whole fish on his own! Mordanne was released with the skills he will need to survive life on his own in the wild.

northern fur seal Mordanne

Smores - Steller Sea Lion

Rescued: August 5, 2017
Released: April 18, 2018
Diagnosis: Maternal separation

Steller sea lion Smores was found alone on a beach when just a few months old. Steller sea lion pups usually spend the first year or more with their mothers as they nurse and learn vital survival skills. These sea lions are a social species, so Smores also needed to learn how to interact with other marine mammals. At the Center, she had lots of pen-mates to play with, from California sea lions to fur seals. After nine months of rehabilitation, Smores was released near the Farallon Islands, a marine sanctuary that is home to many other Steller sea lions.

Steller sea lion pup Smores

Snaggle – Guadalupe Fur Seal

Rescued: June 15, 2018
Released: August 16, 2018
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, trauma, anemia

Guadalupe fur seal Snaggle was found with brightly colored netting tightly wrapped around his head and mouth. Rather than behaving how a healthy fur seal should—feisty and energetic—Snaggle was fatigued and weak. Along with being entangled, Snaggle was suffering from anemia and starvation. His entanglement left him unable to swim properly, so he wasn’t able to catch enough food. Upon admit, Snaggle’s deadly entrapment was removed. After two months of rehabilitative care, Snaggle was healthy enough for release back into his ocean home.

Guadalupe fur seal patient Snaggle wrapped in green netting

Sole – Hawaiian Monk Seal

Rescued: July 12, 2018
Released: October 19, 2018
Diagnosis: Maternal separation, malnutrition

Hawaiian monk seal Sole was rescued on the remote Kalaupapa Peninsula on Moloka‘i after he was prematurely weaned. Upon arrival at Ke Kai Ola, our hospital in Hawai‘i dedicated to this endangered species, veterinarians noted that Sole was malnourished but in good health. At first, Sole received nutrition from fish smoothies, but eventually graduated to eating whole fish on his own. Special enrichment activities helped develop his natural behaviors and the skills he would need in the wild. After three months, Sole was released with a second chance at life.

Hawaiian monk seal Sole

Woody – Pacific Harbor Seal

Rescued: April 10, 2018
Released: June 15, 2018
Diagnosis: Malnutrition, maternal separation

Harbor seal Woody was rescued from what would have been a sad fate—motherless and starving, with no way to get the nutrition she needed. At first, Woody was tube-fed a nutritious formula to help her grow strong. During fish school, while her pen-mates competed for whole fish, Woody simply watched them. But once she had her “light-bulb moment,” Woody finally began eating her share. Just a few weeks later, she was released back into her ocean home.

harbor seal pup Woody with a fish in her mouth

Patient images © The Marine Mammal Center / NOAA permit #18786 / USFWS permit MA101713-1

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