- Address: 22650 DOCK AVE S, Des Moines, WA 98198
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Who we are: Responding to stranded or injured marine wildlife throughout the Pacific Northwest, including disentangling sea lions and whales from ocean trash and fishing gear. Rehabilitating sick and injured marine animals to give them a second chance at life in the wild. Researching the health of Southern Resident killer whales and other cetaceans (dolphins, whales and porpoise) to inform conservation efforts. Working with tribes and other local communities to support wildlife health and community involvement. Educating to reduce human-wildlife conflict to promote healthy marine wildlife and healthy human communities. SR³'S MARINE WILDLIFE HOSPITAL Previously in Washington State there were no facilities designed or permitted to rehabilitate endangered marine mammals like this threatened Northern sea otter pup. Previously in Washington State there were no facilities designed or permitted to rehabilitate endangered marine mammals like this threatened Northern sea otter pup. Operating the Pacific Northwest’s only hospital dedicated to marine wildlife, where several species of marine animals can be rehabilitated for the first time in our region. The SeaLife Rescue Center opened in spring 2021, just south of Seattle in Des Moines, Washington. Rehabilitating marine animals helps us monitor the overall health of marine ecosystems and wildlife populations. For example, harbor seals are the most abundant marine mammal in the Salish Sea, and their population is an excellent indicator of ocean health and can serve as a sentinel for human community health. Disease or human-driven health problems in harbor seal populations may also signal upcoming risks for endangered resident killer whales or Guadalupe fur seals. Involving the community by providing unique training opportunities and educational outreach that supports and inspires marine conservation. WHY IS SR³ NEEDED IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST? Marine animal strandings in the Salish Sea, have increased by several fold since the year 2000 and continue to increase. Cetacean (dolphins, porpoises, whales) strandings have increased from ~2 animals per year in the 1970’s to nearly 40 per year in the last decade. Rehabilitation capacity for marine mammals is very limited in the Pacific Northwest (PNW); previously there was no permitted facility capable of caring for, conducting health assessments on, evaluating, or rehabilitating endangered marine mammals, or able to hold adult seals, sea lions, sea otters, or harbor porpoise. Increased tanker and cargo ship transit along the PNW coast and Salish Sea pose increasing risk of an oil spill to at least 50 marine species of concern, including endangered resident orcas. Marine mammals of the Salish Sea are known to be susceptible to pollution- and environmentally-induced medical conditions; thus, marine mammals can be important sentinels and early warning indicators of public health and environmental change. This young female Humpback whale stranded alive in West Seattle (2016) and is an example the increasing number of marine mammals that are stranding in Washington waters. This young female Humpback whale stranded alive in West Seattle (2016) and is an example the increasing number of marine mammals that are stranding in Washington waters.