This April and May, Zookeepers Becky and Julie will be heading to Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI), in Santa Barbara, California, to help rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured, malnourished, orphaned, entangled and oiled marine mammals. CIMWI is an all-volunteer run organization, so Becky and Julie will actively participate in all aspects of rehabilitation, including observing patients, following vet treatment plans, feeding, and cleaning the holding and treatment areas. If the timing is right, they could have a chance to be part of releasing a healthy rehabilitated marine mammal back to the wild. Check back in the coming months to read about their experiences. Thanks to Como Friends for funding their trips to help give marine mammals a second chance at life!
Zookeeper Becky is pictured here on her second day assisting CIMWI with their rehabilitation efforts. In the background, you can see patients #16 and #23. These are both California sea lion pups who were rescued because they were malnourished, dehydrated and underweight.
California sea lion pups are born in the middle of June, so these pups are about 10 months old. CIMWI’s goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and return these animals back to the wild.
Marine mammals can get stranded for a variety of reasons. Diagnostic testing is an essential part of the rehabilitation process for the marine mammals. Zookeeper Becky is pictured here examining blood cells from patient #36, a California sea lion pup. Looking at blood cells allows the veterinary team to determine if a patient has an infection, inflammation, parasites, or a combination of these issues. This information helps them determine the possible source of infection or inflammation and helps direct the course of prescribed medical treatment. The medications are inserted into a fish and fed to the patients with grabbers (tongs). This helps reduce the risk of habituating these wild animals to eating from people’s hands. CIMWI rehabilitates marine mammals with the goal of releasing them back to their natural wild environment.