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Threats to Marine Wildlife Are Accelerating, According to SeaWorld Experts

Since 1964, the same year aquatic theme park operator SeaWorld first opened its gates, SeaWorld’s…

  • June 29, 2019

Since 1964, the same year aquatic theme park operator SeaWorld first opened its gates, SeaWorld’s rescue teams have been on the frontlines of giving ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned animals a second chance at life.

Today, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced that SeaWorld Rescue has now come to the aid of more than 35,000 marine and terrestrial animals in its 55-year history.

Trends in rescue data suggest that the impact of human activity on our oceans, such as plastic pollution, is taking an increasing toll on marine wildlife in recent years.

To grow awareness of the threats facing wildlife, the company also launched a new SeaWorld Rescue channel on Instagram ahead of World Oceans Day that tells the story of rescue, rehabilitation and release, as seen through the eyes of those on the frontlines of saving animals.

SeaWorld cites changes in sea surface temperatures, urban development and resulting habitat loss, along with ocean pollution, as primary causes and concerns impacting marine wildlife.

According to SeaWorld Rescue data, for example, approximately half of the manatees rescued along Florida’s coast since 2015 were in danger from human-impacted activities, including paralysis caused by cold stress or red tide as seawater temperatures dramatically change with the climate, injuries caused by boat strikes, or entanglement in marine debris.

SeaWorld’s rescue team is on call 24/7, 365 days of the year, partnering with multiple government agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to rescue and rehabilitate animals, with the ultimate goal of restoring them to full health so they can return to their natural habitat.

In cases where a rescued animal is deemed non-releasable by NOAA or another federal agency, however, SeaWorld is one of many facilities on call nation-wide to provide world-class care from its dedicated team of animal specialists and veterinarians.

In addition to SeaWorld’s rescue efforts, the company’s team of experienced zoologists and researchers are working on the frontlines of conservation around the globe to help some of the estimated one million species that are being driven toward extinction.

From developing new tools at its Species Preservation Laboratory in California to help repopulate threatened species, to conducting critical killer whale research within its parks that aids in the conservation of threatened southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest, to practicing conservation medicine to rehabilitate endangered species like the Guadalupe fur seal, the various species in SeaWorld’s care are providing a trove of scientific data that scientists can tap to better diagnose and understand threats to the health of their wild counterparts.

The number of animal rescues has increased in recent years in part because more and more people are calling in animal injuries or strandings, enabling the rescue team to respond more quickly and efficiently. If you come across an ill, stranded or injured animal, contact animal rescue teams in the following regions:

  • West Coast: SeaWorld San Diego is part of the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Members of the public, lifeguards and other individuals can report strandings to SeaWorld’s rescue hotline (800-541-SEAL).
  • Florida & the East Coast: Stranded animals in Florida and along the East Coast can be reported by calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (888-404-3922). Cellular phone users can call *FWC or #FWC.
  • Texas: SeaWorld San Antonio is part of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. The hotline is 800-9MAMMAL (800-962-6625). To report a stranded sea turtle, call the Texas Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network at 361-949-8173 ext. 226.

Find out more at www.seaworldentertainment.com.