Point Reyes National Seashore is home to nearly 40 species of land mammals as well as additional species of seals and sea lions along the shorelines. The adjacent marine waters (which include two National Marine Sanctuaries) support at least 20 species of whales and porpoises that can sometimes be seen from the mainland.
Each species of non-endangered mammal occurring in the park may be represented by a limited series of specimens: one good study skin and skull of an adult male, adult female, and immature individual if the young show significant differences from the adults, and a minimum number of forms needed to show seasonal and transitional stages of pelage; one complete skeleton (smaller mammals only). Important local varieties within PORE may be represented by a similar series.
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, a permit is required from National Marine Fisheries for all marine mammal parts. A copy of the permit should be placed in both the accession folder and in the collection's general files.
Insofar as possible, vertebrate animals should be acquired from the natural or accidental death of individuals, rather than the deliberate taking of live specimens for this specific purpose. This principle is to be applied most rigorously to species that are threatened or endangered regardless of their status within the park.
Endangered, threatened, or rare vertebrates will be collected only as road kills or specimens found dead, if that particular species lacks representation in the collection.
Beach finds of whales and porpoises will be evaluated by PRNS science staff and the museum curator for inclusion in the museum collection.
There are 44 species of terrestrial and aquatic mammals represented in the museum collection by study skins and or skeletons.