Sea Lions and Elephant Seal Released After Rehab

Three California sea lions and one Northern elephant seal were released Wednesday morning in San Pedro after rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur.  View the slideshow here.

The three male sea lion pups and one female elephant seal yearling wasted little time diving into the Pacific Ocean at White Point Beach (also known as Royal Palms Beach).  The first sea lion pup to emerge from his carrier hesitated for a moment, looking back for his buddies.  As soon as the other two males were released from their carriers, all three pups took off for the water.

California Sea Lions

Male California Sea Lion Pups


The carrier holding the elephant seal was brought down to the water’s edge next.   She dove into the water immediately.

Elephant Seal

Female Northern Elephant Seal


All four pinnipeds spent a few minutes frolicking in the water near shore before gradually moving out into the ocean.

Sea Lions and Seal

Three California sea lions and one Northern Elephant seal released after rehabilitation


The California sea lions and Northern elephant seal arrived at the center in 2011.  “All of these animals were brought to our facility because they were weanling pups that failed to thrive on their own.” said center spokesperson Jill Romano.  After months of rehabilitation at the San Pedro facility, all four were ready to be released back into their natural habitat.

View a fullscreen slideshow by clicking here: Marine Mammal Release – 02/01/12

About the Center

The Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur is a hospital for ill, injured and orphaned marine mammals.  They began operating in October 1992 and will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.  In the 20 years they have been in operation the MMCC has treated over 5000 animals.  Hundreds of marine mammals are treated each year for injuries, failure to thrive, malnourishment and other problems. As a participating member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, the center also cares for marine mammals exposed to petroleum products in the event of an oil spill in the Southern California area.

The Care Center works with the Center for Marine Studies to provide education to students, school teachers and the general public.  They offer field trips, scout badge programs (includes guided tour, activity and marine biology patch) and other generation education programs.  The center also offers internships to college students, graduates and veterinary students.

How to Help and Why

The Marine Mammal Care Center depends on public donations and grants.  Please consider volunteering and/or making tax-deductible gifts of money or items from their wish list to support their efforts.  In addition to being adorable and beautiful to watch, marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.  The health and welfare of the marine mammal population is of the utmost importance to maintaining marine biodiversity which in turn is vital to the health of our planet.

Visit the Center

The Marine Mammal Care Center and gift shop are open to the public during daylight hours (10 am- 4 pm daily).  The animals can be viewed in their enclosures from behind the fence line (please leave your pets at home).  Staff and volunteers can be observed caring for the animals and are available to answer questions and share information about these beautiful mammals.  The center is one of my very favorite family-friendly spots to visit.  My children love watching the animals and it is a great location to bring visitors.

Directions and Map

To visit the center, take the 110 Freeway south until it ends at Gaffey Street.  Continue south (left turn) on Gaffey past 36th Street.  Turn right on Leavenworth Drive at the entrance to Angel’s Gate Park.  The center is located in the Forth MacArthur/Angel’s Gate Park area on the right, just behind Angel’s Gate High School (across from the Bird Center).  Park in the parking area in front of the center and walk around the building to enter.

View Marine Mammal Care Center in a larger map

Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731

Open 10-4 daily

Nearby Excursions

After visiting the Marine Mammal Care Center, why not make a day trip out of your jaunt to San Pedro and a visit a handful of the historical landmarks and points of interest along the beautiful Palos Verdes/San Pedro Coastline?  All of these places mentioned in the article offer free admission (donations accepted at some spots) and free parking.

Los Angeles Day Trip – Seals, Whales, Lighthouses and More!

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