From Arrival to Release 

 Upon arrival to the Care Center, each patient:

  • Is assigned a unique ID # (our patients are not named)
  • Receives a thorough check-in exam, by a member of the animal care and veterinary staff
  • Will be given clear fluids, along with essential electrolytes – orally and/or subcutaneously
  • Moves to an enclosure with similar individuals, or to an isolation pen if the condition is more critical


Nutritional deficiencies and dehydration are common challenge faced by our patients.  Therefore, top priorities will be to:

  • Create an initial treatment plan
  • Provide a clean and stress-free environment
  • Monitor the amount of food taken in, or supplying appropriate supplements via tube feeds for those who are not self feeding
  • Administer prescribed medication


Once deemed stable, next step is move to an enclosure with a pool.

Along with giving the patient a chance to exercise, staff and volunteers are better able to assess natural behavior in the aquatic environment.  Entering into the water may enhance, or spark, the desire for food intake.


Release Criteria – How long does a pinniped stay in our care?

As a rehabilitation facility, and not a long term public display facility, our patients are returned to their ocean HOME as soon as they are medically cleared for release by our staff veterinarian.  Aspects considered are:

  • Body condition – healthy weight for their age and species
  • Appropriate behavior – no signs of imprinting or habituation to human behavior
  • Injuries well healed, and no longer in need of medication
  • Observed competitive drive for self feeding


Marine Mammal Care Center  |  San Pedro, CA 90731  |  310-548-5677
© 2013 Marine Mammal Care Center. All Rights Reserved.