SeaWorld hits historic milestone of more than 40,000 rescues

ORLANDO, Florida. – SeaWorld has reached a historic milestone in its rescue and rehabilitation operations.

SeaWorld announced Tuesday that it has rescued, rehabilitated and released more than 40,000 animals in company history.

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The company’s mission to help animals in need began in 1965, when it rescued a stranded Dall’s porpoise. Since then, SeaWorld has helped save a number of diverse species, such as waterfowl, pinnipeds, turtles, manatees, whales, dolphins, otters and a wide range of other mammals and fish.

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“Our teams are responsible for the care and well-being of thousands of animals – both rescued and in residence – and while we prefer to live in a world where wildlife does not need our help to thrive in healthy abundance is not today’s reality,” said Dr. Chris Dold, Zoological Director of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. “Rescue and rehabilitation can save the lives of individual animals and, in some cases support the preservation of endangered and threatened species, such as the Florida manatee. This is why we do this work and why it is so important for accredited zoos and aquariums like ours to continue their efforts to help animals that cannot survive on their own.

Each of SeaWorld’s theme parks has dedicated staff, veterinarians, and rescue and rehabilitation facilities. The company said everyone is equipped to care for the most commonly rescued species. Seals, sea lions and sea otters are found more on the west coast, while manatees and dolphins are rescued on the east coast.

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SeaWorld announces 40,000 rescues (sea world)

SeaWorld said the primary goal is to return rescued animals to their natural environment, however, sometimes the animals’ health condition means that they cannot be released. In these cases, SeaWorld and wildlife officials will determine the best location for the animal to receive future care.

An example of this was in December when SeaWorld Orlando moved a dolphin and a sea turtle to their forever homes at the Clearwater Maine Aquarium.

SeaWorld Orlando’s park has also been critical in recent months as Florida’s manatee population faces an alarming decline due to habitat loss and pollution. Last month, park officials announced they would add more space to accommodate the growing number of sick and injured manatees they were receiving.

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SeaWorld added more pools for injured manatees this week as manatee deaths spiked in the Indian River Lagoon. WKMG (WKMG)

In addition to Central Florida Park’s manatees, SeaWorld is one of many agencies teaming up to save Florida’s coral reefs. They created the Florida Coral Rescue Center, a new facility allowing coral colonies to receive world-class care and reproduce with the help of a team of coral experts. The work is already visible signs of positive results. SeaWorld said last month that researchers had documented a type of coral-producing offspring – a first in human care.

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Click below to watch the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team Leader’s interview.

While some animals are being rehabilitated, teams are also gaining vital information that might not be learned in the wild. SeaWorld said studies of dolphins under their care have led to significant veterinary advances in blood parameters, milk matrix, intubations, surgeries and stem cell therapies. All of these studies help to improve the rescue, health and triage of animals.

“The thrill of really touching an animal, helping an animal and returning that animal to its natural environment is an emotional rollercoaster,” said Jon Peterson, vice president of zoological operations and rescue team leader. from SeaWorld Orlando. “It’s all down to the hard work, dedication of our team and also to every guest that enters our park.”

SeaWorld 40,000 rescues (sea world)

A portion of proceeds from SeaWorld tickets and in-park purchases go to fund rescue and rehabilitation. SeaWorld is a professionally accredited zoo and one of the largest marine animal rescue organizations in the world.

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Guests can learn about the ongoing rescue and rehabilitation work while touring the park, by taking a animal visit or attend a summer camp.

Click here to learn more about SeaWorld’s rescue, rehabilitation and return program.

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