City College students volunteer at the Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institute, a sea lion rehabilitation center in Gaviota. The institute, or CIMWI for short, cares for sick sea lions of all ages for 8 to 10 weeks.
City College volunteers get calls about sick sea lions on or around local beaches.
Rescued seals are brought into the center with seaborne diseases like the San Miguel sea lion virus or seal pox, causing bumps and blisters on the face, neck and flippers. Volunteers give the sea lions baths in a sanitizer solution to clean the blisters.
To remedy the diseases the sea lions are given various medications that are stuffed inside capelin and herring fish. The sea lions eat about 150 pounds of fish daily. Meals are portioned to help them gain blubber at a healthy rate, preparing them for survival in the wild.
Once they are fully recovered, volunteers go out to the Channel Islands to release the sea lions.
All students are welcome to volunteer at the institute.
For a video transcript, click here.