ATLANTA (June 16, 2016) - Georgia Aquarium recently sent two staff members to assist with animal care efforts at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, Calif. Georgia Aquarium animal care specialist, Sarah Sayre, and veterinarian, Chelsea Anderson, spent two weeks at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) helping to care for stranded animals along the California coast.

The West Coast is currently experiencing an unusual mortality event (UME) and in the first few months of the year has seen an increase in sea lion and seal pup strandings along California beaches. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) is a nonprofit organization and was the first marine mammal rehabilitation facility in California. It is one of six marine mammal rehabilitation centers dedicated to rescuing and caring for these stranded pinnipeds. Georgia Aquarium was fortunate to send four team members on three different occasions to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and The Marine Mammal Center in Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, Calif. 

Sarah and Chelsea have both previously assisted marine mammal rehabilitation centers during UMEs. This previous experience and their work at Georgia Aquarium prepared them to assist PMMC volunteers and staff during this critical time with caring for the over 140 patients at the time. The patients at PMMC consisted mostly of California sea lions, along with elephant seals, Pacific harbor seals and fur seals. Sarah and Chelsea assisted PMMC staff and volunteers with daily feedings, cleaning, and providing medical treatments as needed. All PMMC patients receive health assessments to help determine the best treatment plan for them upon arrival at the facility.

Georgia Aquarium is dedicated to the care and preservation of all marine animals and is honored to be able to assist in providing expert care and support to marine mammal centers like PMMC. To learn more about the Georgia Aquarium team members who assisted with caring for the stranded animals and their experience at PMMC, visit Georgia Aquarium’s blog.

For more information on Georgia Aquarium’s rescue and rehabilitation efforts with sea lions, visit



Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit