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Marine Mammals

By Jim Larkins | December 4, 2008
For the past 19 years, Michele Hunter has been Orange County’s unofficial pinniped matriarch. As the director of operations/animal care for Laguna Beach’s Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Hunter oversees the rescue and rehabilitation of dozens of distressed seals and sea lions each year. Under Hunter’s direction, about 70 animal care volunteers and 10 education volunteers retrieve sick and injured aquatic mammals along a 42-mile strip of coastline that runs from the shores of Seal Beach to the cliffs of San Onofre.
April 4, 2013
Last month, former Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords, her husband Mark Kelly and his daughter were vacationing in Laguna Beach when Kelly's daughter's dog escaped from its owner and attacked and killed a young California sea lion pup, devastating Kelly's daughter and many beach goers who witnessed the tragic event. My first thought was "Why was the dog so close?" Then I thought, "Are there really that many sick sea lions that they are willing to risk coming in contact with humans just to get some needed rest?"
By Jamie Rowe | December 22, 2010
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is 4 feet underwater, however all patients are doing fine and have been evacuated to the Fort MacArthur Animal Care Center in Long Beach until further notice, according to a release from the center. For safety reasons, no one is being allowed access to the center. "Once we have been  given clearance  to return to the center, we will send an update report to you as soon as possible," wrote Melissa L. Sciacca, director of development/marketing for the center.
By Josh Aden | June 8, 2007
The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce took a trip to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center for its monthly networking luncheon Tuesday. The field trip-themed event came complete with a boxed lunch, though the gourmet eggplant, turkey and tuna sandwiches provided by A La Carte probably wouldn't be found in many children's lunchboxes. There was also an educational presentation on marine mammals by the center's education director, Meg Jones, during lunch to add to the educational flair.
By By Michele Hunter | February 10, 2006
We would like to take this opportunity to express our concern over a photograph of environmental videographer Earl Richmond holding a Pacific harbor seal pup that was published in the Jan. 27 edition of the Coastline Pilot. Although we are not aware of the circumstances under which the photograph was taken, we must discourage the general public from seeking out similar photo opportunities. Marine mammals are protected under federal law and it is always a source of concern to us when we see photographs such as this that may encourage the public to pick up or otherwise disturb one of these protected animals.
November 2, 2007
Mozambique Steakhouse and Coastal Lounge was filled with reggae beats and one-of-a-kind masks Sunday night as the Pacific Marine Mammal Center held its second Marine Mammal Masquerade. The charity event, which attracted 135 guests, featured auctions of the masks, created by local artists, and other items; South African cuisine; regional wines; and live music by Full Watts. The event?s honorary chairs were Barbara and Greg MacGillivray of MacGillivray Freeman Films. Mike Tauber emceed.
June 18, 2004
Suzie Harrison Four-week-old California sea lion pup, Tommy, who was rescued on Monday, is one of the huge bonuses to being a camper at Pacific Marine Mammal Center's Camp Pinniped. Children ages 8 to 12 will learn about sea lions and marine life at the camp. They will also engage in mock rescues and other fun, educational activities. "This is our favorite time of the year, we look forward to Camp Pinniped every year," education coordinator/animal care supervisor Kirsten Sedlick said.
By Cindy Frazier | June 8, 2009
The Laguna Beach-based Pacific Marine Mammal Center is reporting an unusually busy year for stranded marine mammals. To date in 2009, the center has treated 172 animals; numbers that have not been seen since the mass stranding event of 2002. This year is on pace to be a record-breaking year, since in 2008 the total number of animals treated for the whole year was 187. The majority of the animals stranding are California sea lion pups. So far this year, 115 sea lions have been rescued, a number that is 131% higher than at the same time last year.
By Joanna Clay, | August 4, 2011
Forty years ago, John Cunningham and Jim Stauffer opened Friends of the Sea Lion for a simple reason: They were running out of space. Stauffer and Cunningham, both Laguna Beach lifeguards at the time, were rescuing sea lions and putting them in Stauffer's backyard. They built a pool, fed the mammals and nursed them back to health. Decades later, Friends of the Sea Lion, which is now called the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, is the main marine rescue facility in Orange County.
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