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Lapawi the Oiled Fur Seal

Lapawi is back in the wild after receiving medical care at The Marine Mammal Center.

In April 2011, The Marine Mammal Center rescued Lapawi, a Guadalupe fur seal. Normally found near Guadalupe Island, off the coast of Baja California, as well as around the Channel Islands in Southern California, Guadalupe fur seals are pelagic marine mammals and rarely come ashore. For this reason, rescuers knew something was wrong when they saw him on the mainland far from home. Covered in tar and oil, he was severely underweight and desperately needed our help.

During his time at the Center, Lapawi was delicately and routinely cared for by our hospital crew volunteers and veterinary staff. He was carefully cleaned many times with Dawn dishwashing liquid, given fluids, put on a robust diet and monitored throughout his stay. After six weeks of TLC at the Center, Lapawi was healthy and strong enough to go back to the wild where he belonged.

This little guy was a victim of human carelessness, caught in our pollution, but he was one of the lucky ones. Because he was spotted by a passerby who knew to call us, he rescued and rehabilitated by The Marine Mammal Center.

After six weeks of cleaning, medication, fish and rest at our specially-designed hospital, Lapawi went back to the wild - strong, healthy, and free of tar and oil!

Lapawi is just one of the hundreds of marine mammals we rescue and treat every year that are victims of human carelessness. Approximately 10% of our animal patients come to us because of human-caused injuries such as entanglements in trash, harassment on beaches, and even getting shot!

We're only able to care for these animals because caring people like you donate. Here's how your donations help:

  • $10 = 1 pup a fish meal or fish milkshake
  • $25 = 1 meal & meds for a hungry seal pup
  • $50 = 5 meals for a pup (about a day of food) 

    Help a marine mammal today!

    Related Story: You can read about Olive-the-oiled-sea-otter's amazing story here, including an interview with the Center's Dr. Bill Van Bonn on why her recovery and the birth of her pup is so remarkable!

    Related links:

    Read about other fur seal patients Autumn and Cliff Kringle.

    Find out more about Oil Spill Response and Marine Mammals.

    Learn more about Dawn's Junior Wildlife Champions.



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