[singlepic id=224 w=320 h=240 float=right]

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Laguna Beach’s beloved Pacific Marine Mammal Center, two sea lions – Arno and Oliver – are all fixed up and ready to return to the ocean. Their Release Party is ‘specially slated for tomorrow (Friday, April 22nd) in honor of Earth Day at Crescent Bay, 9:00 a.m. sharp.

The public is welcome to attend (just watching kids’ faces during the release is half the fun), but plan to be there early and in position as they really do release these critters at the top of the hour!

Here’s the map and directions to the Sea Lion Release Party – click once on this image for an enlarged view: [singlepic id=223 w=320 h=240 float=right]

If you’ve never been to a seal or sea lion “release party,” it really is something to see; it’s a real celebration of what these amazing folks at the Marine Mammal Center do for their “patients” in terms of rescue, veterinarian miracles, and complete rehab.

Arno the Sea Lion pup has been with the PMMC since the first week of March, having arrived at the PMMC with all sorts of health issues and sores on his left hip. A particularly positive-minded pup, he was named in honor of a well-loved PMMC board member, Arno Chauvel, who fell ill after the first of the year, and passed away just this week, April 19th.

Oliver the Sea Lion was brought in just before Valentine’s Day. He’d been rescued at Crescent Bay, having beached himself as a very underweight and sadly lethargic sea lion. Just a year old and weighing in at 69 pounds, he wasn’t at all sure he’d find a way to reach his adult weight (about 800 pounds), but the PMMC set to work immediately to remedy the situation.

Now, not only are Oliver and Arno healthy, fat and sassy, they’ve also become bosom buddies during their stay at their Marine Mammal “resort.” Once they’re released, there’s a good chance the boys will remain friends in the Deep Blue Sea.

Come on down and celebrate Earth Day in a truly unique way!

© 2011, Diane Armitage, www.LagunaBeachBest.com

Here’s more info about the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach (from their website):

Every year, hundreds of sea lions and seals beach themselves along the shores of southern California. Occasionally they are merely in need of rest and warmth; but more often they are ill, infected, malnourished, or suffering from pneumonia, gill net strangulation, or other problems caused by human pollution and interference with the ecosystem.

When a marine mammal is stranded, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center responds. The only rescue group in Orange County licensed to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals that strand themselves on Orange County beaches, PMMC’s small staff and network of dedicated volunteers rescues hundreds of marine mammals each year, including California sea lions, Northern Elephant Seals, Harbor Seals, and the occasional otter, dolphin, or small whale.

Early spring is the time of the greatest need. PMMC can house close to 90 animals at one time, providing them with food, antibiotics, and wound care. Rescue and stabilization is just the beginning — then comes rehabilitation and release back into the wild. With an eye towards prevention through greater understanding, PMMC also studies illnesses in the marine mammal population, and educates thousands of people every year on the ocean environment and marine conservation.

Get Laguna's Restaurant Updates!