What is a Furnado?

If you google ‘Furnado’, you might find yourself wandering off topic, gazing at fantastic photos of Furna Do Enxofre (a volcanic cave located on Portugal’s Azores Islands).  But a Furnado in our context is actually a term I first heard via our colleagues at The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC), referring to the tornado of fur seals in distress that have been hitting our California coastline as of late.


Northern fur seal pup @ TMMC

Upon hearing that TMMC had rescued more than 30 Guadalupe fur seals by the middle of 2015, and then rescued over 100 Northern fur seals before year end, I recognized that these numbers were truly unprecedented.  In my former staff role at TMMC, I would have been focused on the task of recruiting and training additional volunteers to help care for this onslaught of feisty pinnipeds.  But in my new staff role with the OWCN, two very different thoughts came to mind:

  1. With the current unusual oceanic conditions out there, and the fur seal’s dependence upon their dense fur coat for proper thermoregulation, our network better be prepared for the possibility of responding to these less common pinnipeds should an oil spill occur (Good News: Thanks to Refugio, our Network is more prepared today than we were this time last year to launch a large scale oiled marine mammal response!)
  2. While every one of our 35 Member Organizations is essential to the strength and depth of knowledge comprising our Network, we should send a shout out of thanks to our marine mammal focused Member Organizations, as they had a demanding year in 2015, and may need some words of encouragement going into what looks to be a busy 2016.

So in reference to that second thought above, let me express my attitude of gratitude toward our fantastic marine mammal responders out there, and remind you all that your willingness to go above and beyond does not go unnoticed.  And to prove that point, below are links to just a few articles discussing the very topic of fur seal overload or simply the deluge of pinnipeds over the last year, with each of them specifically highlighting our marine mammal centric Member Organizations which include:

Additional articles on the topic:

Keep up the good work!


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