For the past decade, SeaDoc has hosted veterinary interns each summer to help run the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in collaboration with The Whale Museum. This summer’s interns were Alexa Dickson and Tamsen Polley, who have since returned to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for their third year. They did a great job and we loved having them around, so we took a moment to ask about their experience on Orcas before they dive headlong into their next year of vet school.
Every year, the SeaDoc Society hosts interns for the summer in collaboration with The Whale Museum and the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network. In this video, two of our interns respond to a call about a harbor seal pup on Orcas Island. One of our 2016 interns, Megan Mangini, a student at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, explains how the response network works and what she gained from her experience as a summer intern. SeaDoc is part of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, which is part of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Big thanks to the Hoglund family for supporting the SeaDoc Society and generously donating lodging to the interns each summer. We deeply appreciate it! Stay tuned for some darting practice footage from our 2017 interns next month!
Note: The pup in the video above was re-sighted in the wild once after being tagged, but specifics beyond that are unknown.
By Bob Friel
All of the Salish Sea’s marine mammals—from sea otters to orcas, pinnipeds to porpoises and all the great whales—are federally protected. In collaboration with The Whale Museum, SeaDoc makes crucial contributions to conserving these animals by tracking and diagnosing their diseases, and by responding when they turn up stranded on the beach.
This year, the Whale Museum/SeaDoc partnership was among only three entities in Washington State awarded federal funding under the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. These funds will allow us to continue to respond to marine mammal strandings and to do the research necessary to establish what causes them to end up stranded in the first place.
In the past, SeaDoc, the Whale Museum, and a whole cadre of volunteers have worked to unravel mysteries associated with the impact of Navy sonar on whales, to determine whether zoonotic diseases like brucellosis that effect seals also pose a risk to humans, and to gather other data critical to marine mammal conservation.
Teamwork in research and wildlife rescue activities increases our effectiveness, while success at raising public funds to supplement private support allows SeaDoc to expand our mission to restore the Salish Sea. And it’s all good news for marine mammals!