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The MMSC was started in 1978 by Robert Schoelkopf and Sheila Dean. The Center celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2023.
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 over 6,000 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 and Beluga whale- both 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 in House page!
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 using a non-toxic livestock marker (usually pink or orange) before release. All of the identification methods 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.
We have different types of volunteers that help the MMSC.
Stranding 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. Poolhouse Volunteer candidates are selected from people who have successfully completed the Stranding Technician Assistant internship and current MMSC volunteers in good standing with two or more years of volunteer service .
Education and Outreach Volunteers assist with fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and giving tours in our museum when we are open to the public.
We also offer internships for college students, click the button below for more information on our volunteer and internship opportunities!