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On Saturday, August 16th, Admin Assistant Ashley Griffin and friend Adrian Pope participated in the 30th anniversary Run for the Seals, a fundraising race for the Marine Mammal Center. Set along the coastline of Sausalito in the beautiful Marin Headlands, the pair joined 1,000 fellow runners and walkers on a picturesque and mountainous route, all to raise money for the Bay Area nonprofit organization.
The Marine Mammal Center is truly a Bay Area treasure- among the largest operations of its kind in the world. The Center is a veterinary hospital and research facility for aquatic mammals such as seals and sea lions, as well as occasional dolphins and small whales. The Center serves as an area to treat injured or malnourished animals, and then releases them back into the wild. In rare instances, if an animal is incapable of being released into the wild (for example, is deaf or permanently wounded) it is then placed into a zoo or sanctuary.
In addition to rescue and rehabilitation, the Center also studies its patients and their tissue samples for research that provides not only species-based information, but furthers the development and preservation of human health as well. For example, many patients of the Center are sea lions experiencing domoic acid toxicosis (caused by a poisonous biotoxin found in algae), symptoms of which include seizures that affect sea lions and humans alike. As such, when the Center locates sea lions affected by domoic acid toxicosis, it alerts the authorities of the area so that affected waters are banned for fishing, thereby saving contaminated life from affecting human food supplies. Currently, major research studies are underway at the Center linking sea lions and humans in regards to cancer.
The incredible work of the Center is entirely funded by donations, and so this annual fundraising event is vital for the Center, and is a wonderfully fun experience for participants. Ashley and Adrian were able to raise $325 (with help from RINA) and contributed to the overall earnings of nearly $50,000 total for the race. For more information about the Marine Mammal Center and to schedule your tour of the facility, please visit: www.marinemammalcenter.org.