The MMSC was started in 1978 by Robert Schoelkopf and Sheila Dean. The Center is celebrating its 43rd anniversary in 2021.
We help all marine mammals and sea turtles - this may include seals (Harbor, Grey, Harp, Hooded), dolphins, whales, and even the occasional wayward manatee. The four species of sea turtles that we see and rescue in NJ are the Green, Kemp's Ridley, Loggerhead, and Leatherback.
Since opening in 1978, we have responded to 5,600 strandings. An average year sees anywhere from 100-200 animals. Check out our stranding statistics!
We cover all 1,800 miles of tidal coastline and waterways in the state of New Jersey.
Seals are protected by both state and federal laws - therefore, it is illegal to approach and/or touch a seal. Most seals come onto the shore just to rest, and if you approach them, they may get scared and return to the sea before they are ready. If an injured seal returns to the water, they will not get the care they need.
Please keep all pets (dogs) away from the animals, as they will most definitely scare them and may also contract any diseases the seal is carrying.
The recommended viewing distance is from at least 150 feet away, and PLEASE call the MMSC at (609) 266-0538 to report all sightings.
Whales, dolphins, and sea turtles are also protected by state and federal laws - the same rules apply!
California Sea Lion (escaped from the US Navy's program), Right Whale in the Delaware River, and the occasional Florida manatee.
We do not allow the public to come into our hospital areas. We must keep them as sanitary as possible and the animals who are there are very sick and in the process of rehabilitating. People in their area would stress them out even more, however, we do have a large screen TV monitor in our museum where you can view a live camera feed of the animals that are in the hospital and we display Patient Profiles on our Current Patients webpage!
Yes! Seals get a small tag on their rear flipper and sea turtles get a small metal clip tag on their front flipper. If we have to relocate a seal, we will draw a number on its head with a pink or orange grease marker before release. All of the tags/grease markers that we use do not hinder the movement of these animals.
Always! If you would like to help support our mission, we have various options. You may donate by purchasing a Seal Adoption, a One Time Donation, an Annual Membership, or you can directly purchase items in need from our Amazon Wishlist with this link:
We also have different ways in which you can volunteer your time to our mission.
We have different types of volunteers that help the MMSC.
Stranding/Beach Volunteers are added to a call list where the stranding technicians will reach out when there is a stranding in the area, requesting any assistance the technicians may need.
Poolhouse volunteers are fitted into our spring intern schedule, filling in any shifts that the interns are not scheduled for. Duties are similar to that of an on-site spring intern, assisting with animal feedings, medications, and cleanings of the animal pens.
Education/Museum Volunteers assist with fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and can be scheduled to give short tours in our museum when we are open on the weekends.
We also offer internships for college students, click the button below for more information on our volunteer and internship opportunities!