Protecting the ocean and the animals in it is the backbone of SeaWorld’s mission. That’s why the park dedicates itself to marine mammals, both in its parks and through partnerships with leading animal rescue organizations to keep animals healthy in the wild.
This is just a brief look at the ways SeaWorld contributes to wildlife preservation on a global scale.
1. Rescuing Ill, Orphaned and Injured Animals
The SeaWorld Rescue Team, which was first established in San Diego in 1964, is on call 24/7, 365 days a year, to help animals in emergency situations. Since then, more than 31,000 animals have been rescued, including a 5,000-pound Bryde’s whale in 1989, an orphaned gray whale calf in 1997, and 14 injured or displaced sea lions following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Unfortunately, the veterinarians and animal care specialists can’t always return the rescues to the wild. The SeaWorld Cares website explains, “Our goal for every animal rescue is to successfully rehabilitate and return it to the wild. The small percentage of animals with conditions that would prevent them from surviving in the wild are given lifelong care with us or at another accredited facility.”
Last month, they partnered with the Georgia Aquarium to rescue a dolphin that was attacked by a shark in Ponte Vedra Beach. And on Feb. 28, they returned 17 endangered sea turtles to the ocean in Titusville after a successful rehabilitation from cold shock.
2. Education and Research
The purpose of SeaWorld’s attractions and animal encounters isn’t purely entertainment. These experiences were designed with education in mind. Take Mako’s ride queue, for example. As guests twist through it, they learn about shark conservation through a series of videos from Guy Harvey’s shark expeditions and can even see real-time shark tracking information while learning about how they can help.
Similarly, each animal encounter provides the opportunity for guests to start a conversation with animal experts and each other. Those animal experts also work alongside outside researchers and scientists to better understand marine mammals and other species in a unique, controlled environment in an effort to better protect them in the wild.
Outside of the parks, SeaWorld experts have published more than 300 scientific studies and contributed to more than 1,000 published studies. These works help to advance animal care in zoological facilities and in the wild.
3. Conservation Funding and Direct Action
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund was established in 2003 to provide support for conservation projects around the world. Since its inception, the fund has awarded over $11 million grants to over 800 organizations.
The contributions have reached every continent to positively affect numerous species through partnerships with the National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy, among others. One hundred percent of the funding received goes toward these projects.
Ultimately, SeaWorld’s mission is to make a difference for the world’s animal populations and inspire park guests to do the same.