Monday, March 29, 2010

Another learning opportunity through WMMSN

As a volunteer with the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network, I have a lot of neat opportunities to learn new and interesting things related to our work of helping with stranded marine mammals. 

This week was no exception.  On Saturday I, along with other volunteers from WMMSN and Northwest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, attended a training class to learn how to triage for distressed seal pups. This training was taught by Penny Harner, a staff rehabilitator from Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  

You may remember Wolf Hollow from my post about the release of Chitenango, our little seal pup rescued from Lummi Island last year.

Chitenango when found on the beach at Lummi Island

Chitenango and friends being released at
San Juan Island after rehab at Wolf Hollow.
Penny taught us how to administer some basic first aid for instances when we might need to keep a seal pup for a short time en route to a rehabilitation facility.  She presented us with all kinds of information on how we could best help a distressed seal pup including housing, wound care, administering fluids if necessary & heating and cooling a pup. 

What a fantastic opportunity this was to learn more about the care of seal pups.  I'm so glad that I am able to volunteer to help and learn so much along the way.

As a member of the general public, should you come across a stranded marine mammal, remember it is against the law to approach them or harass them in any way. Remember, your strolling through their natural habitat!  The best thing to do is stay back, keep dogs away and observe.  If you notice that the mammal is in distress, contact your marine mammal stranding network and pass on as much information as you can note that might help the volunteers from the network to locate and assist the mammal.

P.S.  Seal pup season is fast approaching and the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network will once again be busy responding to seal pup calls.  Now is a great time to help support our efforts. Donations of any amount help us to purchase equipment such as carriers, ropes and other items needed for stranding responses and to pay for trainings like the one I attended this week.  Donations $25 and receive your very own Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network Tshirt. 


  1. This is great. Glad that you are always proactive and doing amazing things with your time. Take care.

  2. Christi, it's absolutely wonderful to read this at a time when the seal hunts have just begun in Canada again - helps me keep some faith in people! It must be amazing to be able to help these little guys [ok, maybe not so little!]. Thank you for the tips & just for doing what you do.

  3. It would be good if there was a list of numbers for different regions so people would know exactly who to call if they came upon a stranded marine mamal.

  4. Thanks Jeannine! My key to happiness do something you love everyday :0)

    Kim, it's true, it is really amazing to get upclose with these seal pups and help when we can. They are actually quite small on the stranded pup calls, but we also deal with strandings of deceased mammals that have washed up on our shores and some of those aren't so small. My very first response with WMMSN was on a dead gray whale. It was a juvinielle, but still weighed in somewhere around 10,000 lbs!

    Annie, I agree. I wish there was some sort of list for the different regions. Here's a link to the NOAA page for marine mammal strandings. There's a list of numbers located here for different regions along with a clickable map. Also you could run a web search with your area + marine mammal stranding network to find your local network. Thanks for the suggestion!


Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear what you think!


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