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Between January and April, Pacific Marine Mammal Center responded to more than 340 rescue calls for stranded marine mammals, the most ever received by the non-profit. At the peak of the crisis, they were providing food and care for 167 sea lion pups at their facility.
“It was the most catastrophic event we’ve ever seen,” said PMMC Executive Director Keith Matassa. “We did everything that we could to rescue each animal in need, and have been working tirelessly for the last six months to get them all well enough to return home.”
Now more than 120 pups have recovered enough to be safely released back into the ocean. The latest “graduates” are Grace and Evanora. The pair will go free this weekend.
Grace was rescued on Feb. 26 from San Clemente, weighing just 26 lbs, less than half of what she should have weighed. PMMC staff reported that Grace was in such a critical condition that it took her more than two months before she was able to eat on her own. Evanora also was found in San Clemente. She arrived at PMMC on March 13, weighing only 22 lbs and suffering from starvation and lacerations on her face.
“We do whatever it takes to give each animal a second chance,” said Animal Care Director, Michele Hunter. “We have many animals that were on the brink of death, but fought hard for their lives, and are now making their way back home.”
PMMC is still going through more than 300 lbs of fish a day to support their remaining patients. The cause for the mass stranding of pups this spring is still under investigation.
GreaterGood supports this organization through the Gifts That Give More program and additional donations from The Animal Rescue Site.
Photo of Grace and Evanora at PMMC by JoAnn Smith, used with permission from PMMC