Rehabilitation

Cape Cod is a stranding hotspot. Hundreds of marine animals strand alive and in need of medical care every year. The National Marine Life Center is meeting that need. Our core mission is to rehabilitate for release stranded sea turtles, seals, dolphins, porpoises, and small whales. We believe that through rehabilitation, we can help individual animals, learn more about marine animal species and wildlife disease, and share what we learn to promote ocean conservation.

In 2004, the National Marine Life Center rehabilitated our first patient, a loggerhead sea turtle named “Eco”.  Each year since, NMLC has achieved new milestones in rehabilitation including the admission and release of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the most endangered sea turtle in the world, and the admission and release of our first seal patient. Through rehabilitation, we can help individual animals, learn more about marine animal species and wildlife disease, and share what we learn to promote ocean conservation.


Tracking

Selected patients of the National Marine Life Center are equipped with satellite tags so that we can follow their progress in the wild. Learning how these endangered and protected marine animals use the ocean habitat and discovering the post-release behavior of bellwether species provide critical information about them and about the health of the ocean itself.


The Animals We Treat

Since 2004, the National Marine Life Center has cared for over 120 threatened, endangered, and/or protected aquatic animals. Our rehabilitation patients and head-start animals to date have included the following species:

  • Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
  • Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
  • Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
  • Hooded Seal (Cystophora cristata)
  • Harp seal (Phoca groenlandica)
  • Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina)
  • Gray seal (Halichoerus grypus)
  • Northern red-bellied cooter (Pseudemys rubriventris)
  • Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Ghandi

What You Can Do For A Stranded Marine Animal

Thank you for caring about sick and injured marine animals, and for wanting to help! Please remember what wildlife can be dangerous and carry diseases. Additionally, animals can be very stressed by human presence. Be sure to stay away from the animal, keep other people, dogs, and seagulls away, and report the animal to the proper authorities. Learn More ›