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Marine Mammals in California Returning to their Natural Habitat

February 22, 2013

Farallon Islands 20 miles from SF
Farallon Islands 20 miles off the coast of San Francisco

Seals and sea lions are marine mammals which simply fascinate me! In 1995, immediately after visiting the Monterey Aquarium, I stepped out on a large wooden deck overlooking the coast and was mesmerized by the concert provided by the marine mammals basking in the sun. It was the first time ever that I encountered such creatures in real life. Then, in 2011, while walking along the Piers in SF, I ran into those animals again and just sat on a dock in awe observing them quietly as they carried out their usual activities. However, just the other day, back in California, I had an unexpected close encounter with them.
While riding a catamaran on an excursion to visit wildlife 20 miles off the coast of SF, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that four marine mammals were indeed traveling with me. They were one Sea Lion and three Northern Fur Seals, which had been rescued three months earlier at various areas along the coast. They had been found in pitiful conditions, for example, one just covered in tar! The Marine Mammal Center, a non profit based in Sausalito, had rescued them and after providing much needed care and rehabilitation, the marine mammals were now on their voyage to return to their natural habitat. They were pups. By talking to the caretakers, it was obvious the wonderful care the animals had received; furthermore, the caretakers were willing to share some stories and explained the steps taken to ensure the marine mammals experienced no attachment to their caretakers or to any other human, so their return to their natural habitat would be easier. Of course, during the rehabilitation months, the animals had also practiced the survival skills they needed to return to live in the wild.
So, as we reached the area around the Farallon Islands where they were to be released, all present watched in silence. One by one, the kennels were opened onto an open doorway on the catamaran, and each mammal gently encouraged to exit the kennel.
All aboard quietly watched the mammals swim away. After it was all over, I stopped to talk to the caretakers who had carried out the release and learned the names the mammals had been given during their rehabilitation time; those little ones swimming to freedom were Goldsby, Eggnog, Sassy Sasquatch and Little Gobbler!!!!!!!!!!

Farallon Islands

Sassy is in the water

Sassy Sassquatch Release 2

Sassy in water 3


From → Posts on the USA

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