Into the wild

    It’s back to the ocean for a once-malnourished elephant seal, now doubled in weight, with the help of volunteers Leslie Lentz, extern Avia Ben-Simon, preceptor Rae Porter Blackwell and employee Alyssa Schlange of the California Wildlife Center on Wednesday morning, June 14. See the story and more photos on page A10. 

    The California Wildlife Center Marine Mammal Response & Rehabilitation team released an elephant seal back to the wild Wednesday morning. The malnourished seal was found onshore earlier this year, weighing in at only 68 pounds. 

    “We call it ‘failure to thrive,’” Program Manager Michael Remski explained in an email to The Malibu Times. “They are basically all three-month-old pups that have left the rookery and are now on their own. This is normal for a three-month-old; however, these few that we take in are the ones that for some reason were not able to hunt and survive on their own.”

    Remski said there were several reasons why the seals would not be thriving, including “lack of fish, injury or illness in the early stages, weakening them to the point where they can’t hunt.” 

    Remski said there were less rescues this years, with fewer sea lions, but much more elephant seals (combined a 30 percent net decrease). After three months in the care of the CWC, the young seal was released, weighing in at 170 lbs. The team rescued approximately 99 marine mammals this season. 

    “Watching this seal leave for her ocean home makes the past three months of work all worthwhile,” Remski shared.  

    If you see a stranded marine mammal, keep your distance for the safety of both you and the seal, and contact California Wildlife Center hotline: 310.458.WILD (9453). For more information on CWC, visit


    CWC to host family picnic

    The CWC hosts its first ever Feathers, Flippers and Fur Family Picnic at Malibu Bluffs Park on Saturday, June 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    The event will feature a vegetarian picnic lunch, plus music, games, crafts, entertainment and more. Tickets are $75 for adults and $25 for children ages 3-18, and are available for purchase at