The ocean supplies life to our entire planet. It drives the water cycle, essential to life as we know it. The ocean is also home to certain animals, which are excellent determinants of its health. Marine mammals are great examples of this. They face increasing pressures that not only threaten their survival, but in some cases their existence. Pollution, in the form of marine debris, is now such a problem that there is not a marine mammal species on earth left unaffected by entanglement or ingestion, in many cases proving fatal. Chemical pollution, largely unseen is an unwelcome reality for marine mammals worldwide. This pervasive problem is the cause of failed immune and reproductive systems, a recipe for population decline and eventual extinction. Declining fish stocks which can be seen as a product of overfishing, climate change, and a polluted environment has resulted in the consistent starvation of seals and sea lions.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues and medically treats California Sea Lions, Northern Elephant Seals, Pacific Harbor Seals, and Northern Fur Seals. While this is valiant work, it is not enough. This is why the research that PMMC undergoes is so important. Through research, we are able to understand the cause and effects of problems facing marine mammals, with the hopes of finding a solution. The educational efforts at PMMC are just as ambitious. Every year PMMC educates over 60,000 visitors, school children, scout groups, professional groups, and others through onsite programming, outreaches, and distance learning programs. The focus of these efforts revolve around raising awareness of the issues and teaching people that simple actions can help us all live more sustainably with the planet.