Brent Allen

July 20, 2017

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The Ugly Truth About Ocean Trash

Imagine being trapped in a fishing net, unable to free yourself. The more you struggle, the more the fishing line cuts into your skin, creating open wounds. You’re starving because you can’t feed yourself, and the skinnier you get, the colder you are. You’re trembling in pain and getting weaker every day.
That’s exactly what happened to Shammyrock, a young California sea lion that had an unlucky, yet all too common, run-in with a potentially deadly fishing net. Luckily for him, The Marine Mammal Center came to the rescue just in time.
Shammyrock would have died without the help of the dedicated volunteers and veterinary experts who gave him a second chance at life.
Entangled marine mammals present some of the most difficult rescue cases because these wild animals don’t realize humans are trying to help them. Field conditions make it even more risky.
But thankfully The Marine Mammal Center created a solution.
They developed a method of darting a seal from a distance of approximately 60 feet with a small acoustic transmitter that allows responders to track the seal while waiting for a special cocktail of sedative drugs to take effect. That last part is important. This is a safe but effective dosage so that the entangled animal does not drown.
Once the animal is safely sedated, they’ll either disentangle the animal right away on the beach or bring them back to the hospital in Sausalito. Equipped with an operating room, their veterinarians can perform complicated surgeries – just like in a hospital that you or I would go to.
Their impact goes much farther than just California too. As the largest marine mammal hospital in the world, veterinarians from countries with developing rehabilitation and conservation programs come to the Center to learn how to rescue entangled animals. And, the Center deploys teams around the world to save animals ensnared by trash and fishing gear.
But they need our help. They’re running a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for life-saving rescues, equipment, surgeries, medicine, training, and more. If you want to help, visit their campaign page:

Although the problem of ocean trash can seem overwhelming, there are simple things we can all do to minimize our impact on the ocean. Giving to The Marine Mammal Center is a simple first step. And always remember the four R’s – REDUCE, REFUSE, RECYCLE & REUSE.

Laura Sherr
Public Relations and Marketing Officer
The Marine Mammal Center
2000 Bunker Road
Sausalito, CA 94965

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