Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur (MMCC) works to rehabilitate sick and injured seals and sea lions that strand along the Los Angeles County Coastline. Once rehabilitated, the pinnipeds (fin or flipper-footed mammals) are released back into their natural environment. MMCC is the only year-round rehabilitation facility in Los Angeles County designated to treat marine mammals.
Five species of seals and sea lions commonly inhabit Southern California coastal waters, and are regular patients treated at MMCC. These are the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), the Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus), the Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi), Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), and Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina).
Most of the animals they treat are brought in as pups and weaners, however sub-adult and adult California Sea Lions are brought in throughout the year as well. The animals arrive dehydrated and often have parasites. Juveniles that haven’t mastered the technique of fish‑catching are brought in malnourished and dehydrated. Older animals are also treated and may also be malnourished, highly parasitized, dehydrated, have predator bites, human interaction injuries, gill net wounds, viral or bacterial infections, cancer, etc. Each animal is treated on a case‑by‑case basis.
Animal care can be viewed from the fence line. Visitors are kept a safe distance from the animals. Staff and volunteers will answer questions and explain the purpose and general operations of the Center. The center is open for visitors during daylight hours. There is no charge to see the animals, but donations are appreciated. Group tours and school field trips can also be scheduled.
The Care Center began operating in October 1992, initially formed as the result of an agreement between Harcourt-Brace and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The Center is involved in the education of students, school teachers and the general public in conjunction with the Center for Marine Studies. They also actively collaborate with other agencies, universities and museums to learn and aid the treatment of the patients in their care.
For additional information, please visit their website.
Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731