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In new Cal Poly class, students will rescue seals and sea lions in Morro Bay

What happens to SLO County’s sick sea lions?

Sick sea lion pups have been coming to The Marine Mammal Center in Morro Bay, California, in high numbers lately. Aubrey St. Marie with The Marine Mammal Center talks about the increase in malnourished pups.
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Sick sea lion pups have been coming to The Marine Mammal Center in Morro Bay, California, in high numbers lately. Aubrey St. Marie with The Marine Mammal Center talks about the increase in malnourished pups.

Cal Poly’s Animal Science Department has partnered with The Marine Mammal Center on a new class that will give students hands-on experience in veterinary care of marine mammals.

The Bay Area-based center is the world’s largest marine mammal hospital; it has rescue and triage facilities in Morro Bay and Moss Landing. Cal Poly students enrolled in the course will do a majority of their work at the Morro Bay facility, according to a news release.

Students will work six hours a week in Morro Bay, playing “a significant role in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured marine mammals, mostly seals and sea lions,” according to the release.

The course was developed and taught for the first time this past spring quarter by Heather Harris, a wildlife veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center triage facility. Harris has been the site veterinarian at the Morro Bay center for the past eight years.

In 2015, the center rescued more than 1,800 marine mammals, a record in the hospital’s 41-year history.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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