MMCC is very happy to report that phase 1 of our El Niño prep is accomplished -- mainly one-time costs for items that will help MMCC succeed during the 2016 rain and provide years of future benefits. We installed custom awnings to cover 650 square feet of space where our dedicated staff prepare food and medications, evaluate new patients, and hand-feed animals that require special attention. We installed new roof drains to direct water away from animal care areas. We built numerous new shelter houses and pallets for seals and sea lions to stay dry and warm when it is best that they are not in water. And, we installed a sophisticated electrical panel for an emergency generator to provide electricity during a power outage. All told, this cost nearly $30,000 - money well spent.
Phase II of El Niño preparation includes reserving an emergency generator, hiring a veterinary assistant, and hiring skilled personnel to work longer hours and more shifts. An emergency generator will allow for prompt delivery if there is a power outage. Additional personnel will minimize the strain on MMCC staff and volunteers. Animal care is an ongoing, dynamic, and demanding process that calls for frequent communication and regular coordination between veterinary and husbandry services in order to provide the most efficient and effective care possible. Rain and cold slow down many aspects of veterinary services, including medical evaluation, assigning a patient number and proper living space, creating a medical and feeding plan, and adjusting those plans on a daily basis. Rain and cold slow down many aspects of animal husbandry, including daily feeding, cleaning, and animal placement. Before MMCC closes for the night, volunteers and staff prepare the next day's morning feed. However this can't be done until feeding and medication plans are adjusted for the next day. When our veterinarian has more to do, and the rain and cold lengthen this process, this delays feed preparation by up to several hours, meaning work lasts until up to 11:00 p.m. or later instead of 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. MMCC is highly dependent on volunteers; it isn't possible to recruit enough volunteers to frequently work so late into the night.
Keep your eye out soon for our annual giving campaign! This year, we are starting early to cover these and other MMCC expenses during the busy season and provide our seals and sea lions with timely, high-quality patient care. We thank you in advance.