By Juliette Goodrich

SAUSALITO (KPIX 5) — The Marine Mammal Center has an urgent need for volunteers after the facility became suddenly overwhelmed with young, orphaned sea lions and elephant seals.

Pupping season is in full force. To date, the Marine Mammal Center has rescued 133 orphaned or injured sea lion and elephant seal pups.

“With the large storms, these big waves are washing them off their normal beaches, said Marine Mammal Center Director, Dr. Shawn Johnson. “So they’re ending up on public beaches. They need to be rescued and given the proper nutrition to get them back out into the wild as soon as possible.”

The Center has always relied on help from the many people who volunteer to work there. The surge in rescued marine mammals is only increasing the need for helping hands.

“We are feeding about 700 pounds of fish a day,” said Johnson.

Volunteers like Mitch Fong help sort the fish before blending them into a concoction they refer to as a “fish milkshake.”

“We are basically looking for damage to fish or places where the fish might be bad,” Fong said as he explained the sorting process.

The pungent “milkshake” is made from a recipe that includes herring, salmon oil and water.

The liquid is individually tube fed to the many pups who haven’t learned how to eat or swallow yet.

Individual feedings are done three times a day by staff and trained volunteers.

The Center is appreciative of any extra helping hands they can get. Anyone interested in volunteering to take a shift in the fish kitchen can sign up at the Marine Mammal Center website.

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