His name is Green Elley, Pen 6, but I just call him Big G. Sure, he has his flaws and quirks. He smells of fish. He's not potty-trained. He'll give the goo-goo love eyes to any sweet young thing that passes by with a bucket of herring. And the mucus... Yeesh, don't get me started on the elephant seal's amazing ability to generate and expel mucus.
Still, as I stood in Pen 7, in my chest-high waders, scrubbing seal poop off the concrete, I realized that I'd rather do that for free than deal with the office politics crap that I tolerated for 2 years at my last job.
If you too feel the pull of Big Green's dark & penetrating orbs, have I got a place for you! Imagine spending 4 - 5 hours listening to the varied barks and calls of California Sea Lions while blending up fish milkshakes. Picture yourself thawing and sorting endless amounts of fish while breathing deeply the scent of sea (and by scent of the sea, I mean copious amounts of pinniped guano.) Better yet, imagine that moment, where you collapse exhausted into your car seat, after hours of back-breaking work, and sit silently smiling, knowing that at least one abandoned Elephant Seal pup is still alive because of you and those around you.
If you live in the Southern California area, have a love for wildlife, and at least half a day of spare time a week... please think about joining the Volunteers at San Pedro's Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur. We're heading into the "busy season", where we will soon be inundated with countless elley pups who have stopped nursing, but have not found the way to survive on fish alone. Summer can also bring algae blooms, which can lead to Domoic Acid Toxicity in Sea Lions, causing neurological damage in the animals. In short, this small but efficient rehabilitation center is about to way more animals than they have volunteer hands.
You can do it for that "good Samaritan" feeling. Or perhaps you want to do it as a write off on next year's taxes. Or maybe, you'll find yourself here just so you too can get a chance to look into Big G's amazing eyes. Whatever your reason, the experience can change your life. Trust me on that.
Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
Phone: (310) 548-5677