Partnering with CIMWI to Rescue and Rehab Malnourished Sea Lions

The following is a blog post by Kurt Heizmann, Assistant Supervisor of Sea Lions and Birds of Prey at Shedd Aquarium, about his experience helping rescue and rehabilitate California sea lions.

After assessing new arrivals, CIMWI uses nontoxic crayons to make a unique color pattern on the animal’s head and shaves shapes corresponding to the animal’s intake number into its fur. None of the identification marks are permanent. ©Shedd Aquarium

As part of Shedd Aquarium‘s ongoing commitment to lending our expertise to animal rescue organizations in need, our animal care team was more than willing to send a few of our staff members to California last month to help the Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) with their rescue efforts. Based on their need for sea lion animal care specialists and my seven years of sea lion experience at Shedd, I was able to do my part in helping save species globally.

CIMWI is a nonprofit based in Ventura County, California that thrives off of its volunteers. The organization was founded in 2006 and now has more than 100 volunteers. The folks at CIMWI are dedicated to positively impacting conservation through marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation, research and education. At this time, they’re particularly focused on the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of California sea lions because of the unusual mortality event (UME) that’s currently rocking sea lion populations on the west coast.

Starving sea lions often made their way inland in search of food. Sometimes this led them to parking lots or locals' driveways, as pictured above. Photo by Brenna Hernandez/Shedd Aquarium
Starving sea lions often make their way inland in search of food. Sometimes this leads —> Read More

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