Image source: PMMC
Geographers heading for the AAG 2013 in Los Angeles and planning on visiting the local beaches, please look out for stranded, ill-looking sea lion pups and keep this number handy: (011+1+) 949.494.3050. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center has issued a ‘state of emergency’ due to recent mass strandings. You can read more in their press release. They are currently struggling to finance the rescue operation, so they are encouraging people to visit the centre (free entry) and make a donation. Their opening times are 10am-4pm, and their address is 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (fieldtrip anyone?).
Here are some instructions from their website:
I found a beached marine mammal, what should I do?
Pinnipeds divide their time between the ocean and the beach, returning to shore to rest, mate, give birth, and for some species molt their fur. Seals and sea lions will come ashore, as well, to stay warm and dry when feeling ill. Because they seek rest on the beach for a variety of reasons, not all seals and sea lions on the beach require intervention. Below are steps to follow if you DO see a seal or sea lion on the beach:
- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Marine mammals are protected by Federal Law and it is unlawful for unauthorized persons to handle them. Do not touch or feed the animal. Do not try to return the animal to the water. If the animal is ill, it has come on shore to be warm and dry. Feeding a severely malnourished animal can actually harm them!
- KEEP OTHERS AWAY
To assure the safety of the public and the animal, please keep others and their pets away from the Pinniped. These are wild animals and they do bite, allowing the opportunity for disease transmittal.
- MAKE NECESSARY OBSERVATIONS
From a minimum distance of 100 feet (30 metres), observe the animal’s physical and behavioral characteristics such as approximate length, weight, fur color, and the presence or absence of external ear flaps. This will help us determine the rescue equipment and the number of volunteers needed. Observe the overall appearance of the animal. Is the animal so thin that you can see its ribs and hip bones? Are there visible wounds? Does the animal have any identification tags or markings?
- DETERMINE THE EXACT LOCATION
For accurate directions, determine the exact location of the stranded animal. We will not be able to help the animal if we are unable to find it.
- LOCATE THE NEAREST PHONE
From the nearest phone, call Pacific Marine Mammal Center immediately at 949.494.3050