Director of Animal Care
With 27 years of experience in marine mammal rehabilitation, Michele Hunter provides strong leadership for Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Joining the organization in 1989 as an Animal Care volunteer, she progressed from Team Leader to Animal Care Supervisor in 1994. Michele was promoted to Animal Care Director in 1999, overseeing all care provided to the Center’s marine mammal patients.
Michele’s areas of expertise include marine mammal transport, sample collection and lab analysis, preliminary diagnosis and treatment regimen development, wound care management, neonatal delivery and care, as well many other animal health technician skills, animal welfare regulations, and training development for volunteers and supervisors. Based upon her reputation for success in hand-rearing newborn California sea lions, she is often approached for assistance and advice by institutions in need of marine mammal husbandry training. Michele is internationally known and respected for her skills in hand rearing sea lion pups and has assisted the curator at the Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands when intervention was needed to successfully hand rear three sea lion pups.
In recent years, Michele has been collaborating with the Caron Laboratory at University of Southern California, providing samples and data for research into harmful algae blooms. Michele is a Co-Author on the publication, Domoic Acid Causes Reproductive Failure in California sea lions featured in Marine Mammal Science.