When Sandra Lee encountered a baby seal scared and stranded on the beach in Malibu, Calif., Tuesday morning, she didn't just feel sorry for him or her: She did something to help!
The 48-year-old chef and TV personality posted a video of her fateful, life-saving encounter with the marine mammal to Facebook. In it, she approaches the helpless, motherless baby seal with caution, asking him sweetly, "Are you OK, honey?"
She quickly saw that he was not. "I just couldn't believe it when I saw the little seal was making movements as if he wanted to nurse," she wrote, so she "started to Google seal rescue and animal rescue in Southern California."
Unfortunately, Sandra discovered that "most numbers had recorded messages explaining that the rescue teams may not be able to return your call for as long as two days." That wouldn't work. "I feared this little guy wouldn't even make it for two hours," she lamented.
Thank goodness, Sandra was able to get in touch with the California Wildlife Center. The trained professionals had the resources and knowledge to successfully rehabilitate the sweet pup. (Sandra of course tried to help the seal on hero own accord, but she later realized, she wrote, that she "brought the raw fish to the baby seal it was as if I was giving a sandwich to an infant. He was still in the nursing phase of his life and his mother was nowhere to be found.")
So her "morning of back-to-back appointments was canceled in favor of saving one tiny seal pup," she wrote. "There was no way that I was leaving this little one to die on the beach!"
Sandra waited with the stranded seal until rescuers arrived and safely transported the pup with a net into the back of a vehicle. From there, he or she would be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center and properly cared for.
This baby pup was lucky, but there are many, many more whose stories won't have a happy ending. Per Sandra's Facebook post, one of the volunteers said she's "rescued three thousand baby seals within the past year...2015 has been the worst year ever according to wildlife rescue teams in Malibu."
Sandra was able to help this baby seal, but she wants to help more. For this very reason, she's promised to match every donation given (up to $25,000) to the California Wildlife Center's Sea Lion Pup Fund.