philanthropy will facilitate a lasting influence on the health of the
marine environment," said Emily Wing, PMMC director of development
"Our existing pools are over 20 years old and this gift will make
a tremendous impact on thousands of our marine mammal patients for
many years to come."
Wing traveled to Miami last week to accept the gift. Pacific
Marine Mammal Center was among 11 ocean-related nonprofit
organizations honored at the grants luncheon. There has been a
substantial increase in the number of stranded marine mammals treated
at Pacific Marine Mammal Center since 1997, a trend that does not
appear to be subsiding, according to PMMC officials.
PMMC treats an average of 125 animals each year, but recent
environmental episodes affecting marine mammals have increased the
patient load dramatically, bringing the number to approximately 250
per year in the past couple of years. The increase in patient load
has put a greater strain on the existing pool system.
"The pool and enclosure renovation project will greatly improve
the efficiency of our animal care operation," said Michele Hunter,
director of operations for the animal care unit.
"The larger pools will provide improved physical conditioning for
the animals prior to their release and will be equipped with a
sloping ramp to provide easier access in emergency situations,"
Hunter said. "With the new pools and enclosures, coupled with the new
pool filtration system, we will be able to provide a consistently
healthy environment for the seals and sea lions in our care."
"Pacific Marine Mammal Center has a 34-year track record in
rehabilitating sick and injured seals, sea lions, dolphins and
whales," said Leslie Katz, the cruise lines' Ocean Fund program
manager. "We are pleased to support an organization with such a long
and successful track record, and one that's doing so much to educate
the public about the fragile marine environment and the creatures
that live in it."
Established in 1971 as Friends of the Sea Lion, Pacific Marine
Mammal Center is among the forerunners in marine mammal