ABOUT SICK & INJURED ANIMALS

IF YOU SEE A SICK ANIMAL DO NOT APPROACH 

Contact MAR via our toll free hotline (800) 39 WHALE 

We rescue marine animals that have many different illnesses and injuries. Below is gallery of some of the rescue situations we encounter.

Please be advised that these images and videos may be sensitive to some viewers.

STRANDING

Whales and dolphins will sometimes deliberately beach themselves.  Although the cause is not always known, this event (known as a ‘stranding’) can be due to illness, injury, old age and noise pollution.

Here MAR and LACO Lifeguards respond to a sick bottlenose dolphin.

WEANED PUPS

Young animals struggling to survive during their first years of life often strand on LA beaches. Pups can become separated from their moms during violent winter storms or if their mother cannot find enough food.  Orphaned pups are vulnerable to starvation and disease.

MAR delivers all malnourished pups for rehabilitation as a humane solution to this natural process.

DEPREDATION

Marine animals are often unintentionally hooked while foraging near fishermen. The process of stealing fish from people is known as ‘depredation’.

Intentionally feeding marine wildlife will alter their natural foraging behavior.  Sea lions that eat bait are more likely to be hooked, hit by boats, or bite someone.

MAR humanely addresses depredation and other forms of negative human interaction by rescuing and relocating affected animals.

ENTANGLEMENT

Discarded marine debris is a growing hazard for all marine wildlife.  Derelict fishing gear can become wrapped around free swimming animals potentially causing serious injury.

MAR is the federally authorized first responder for all large whale disentanglement events in LA county.  MAR works with local boaters, fisherman, whale watch cruises and LACO lifeguards to safely identify and free entangled animals.

Click below to find your nearest fishing line recycling station

EATING PLASTIC

Marine wildlife can mistake floating plastic trash as easy prey.  When a marine mammal or seabird ingests plastic it can become sick.  If the trash remains in the body, it can cause ulcers, dehydration, impaction, starvation and even death.

The sea lion pup above was rescued after regurgitating a portion of a plastic bag.  MAR documents all rescues like these to draw attention to the growing problem of plastic polluting our oceans.

Domoic Acid Poisoning

(AKA Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning)

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring neurotoxin produced by a harmful algal bloom.  This toxin can accumulate in the marine food web.   Predators like sea lions can become poisoned by eating toxic fish.

Domoic acid poisoning can cause paralysis, seizures, and brain damage.  Affected animals can appear to be approachable, however, they are very dangerous and unpredictable.   MAR delivers each poisoned animal to expert veterinary care with hopes of recovery.

PHYSICAL INJURY

MAR responds to all cases of physical injury.  Seals and seabirds are often rescued with broken bones, abscesses or large cuts.

Causes include harassment by free roaming pets, entanglement, shark bites or collision.  This is a photo of a Caspian Tern with a broken wing.

MAR encourages all beach goers to leash their pets at all times

OIL EXPOSURE

Marine animals exposed to toxic oil spills can become sick and die.

Crude oil on an animals feathers or fur will reduce it’s natural insulation barrier causing hypothermia.

Oil in contact with skin or ingested can cause a variety of illnesses.