Marine Mammal Care Center
Los Angeles

If an animal appears to be sick, injured, or in distress, you can best help by:

  • Reporting to the rescue agency that covers the beach that you are on,
    • San Pedro up to Pacific Palisades {including all beaches between them}- Marine Animal Rescue   # 1-800-399–4253 [WHALE]
    • Malibu- California Wildlife Center  # 310-458–9453 [WILD]
    • Long Beach- Long Beach Animal Control  # 562-570–7387
  • Alerting the lifeguard on-duty

Be prepared to provide:

  • The location, condition, and species of the animal. 
  • Any visible signs of injury? (Can you see its ribs or backbone?) 
  • Caution: Is it watching you? Keep your distance and observe the animal from binocular range. (If the animal is watching you, you are too close.)

Once the rescue team arrives, please direct them to the animal, then hold all questions until after they have assessed the situation and (if needed) performed the rescue.

All pinnipeds, which include our common patients {California Sea Lions, Northern Elephant Seals, Pacific Harbor Seals, Northern Fur Seals, and Guadalupe Fur Seals} haul out of the water to rest and sun themselves, as a normal healthy activity. Therefore, not all animals on the beach have stranded and require medical attention.

However, ANY cetacean {dolphin / whale} that has beached or stranded will need immediate assistance.

  • Do not approach or touch the animal. It is a federal offense to disturb them, and they may bite when threatened. Marine Mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
  • Do not push, chase or coax the animal back into the water.
  • Do not pour water on the animal. Pouring water on it may only further serve to debilitate a sick or injured animal.
  • Do not feed. Feeding the animal something other than what it is accustomed to may lead to illness and even death.

Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur is the rehabilitation center where sick or injured marine mammals, in Los Angeles County, will be brought and treated. Once alerted, the rescue agencies will be in contact with us to act in the best interest of the animal(s) on the beach.