Conservation and Education Facts

Conservation and Education Facts

12/26/2012 6:15:00 PM


Conservation and Education

A Passion for Conservation

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. Through up-close animal encounters, educational exhibits and innovative entertainment, guests to the company’s SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® parks leave with a heightened sensitivity to the world around them and an awareness of the plight of animals in the wild.

As one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry, and veterinary care, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment maintains one of the largest animal collections in the world. The company’s SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® parks care for more than 7,000 marine and terrestrial animals, plus approximately 60,000 fish. The collection includes more than 200 endangered or threatened species.

The animal team’s expertise and innovation have led to advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations around the world. This commitment to animals can be seen through programs such as these below.

Animal Rescue: In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the ocean. SeaWorld® animal experts have helped more than 22,000 animals in need - ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned - for more than four decades.

SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund: In addition to direct support of environmental, research and conservation projects, the company provides financial support and human resources to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. A registered non-profit conservation foundation, the Fund has granted $9 million in support of more projects around the world. It also provides an outlet for visitors to the parks, as well as the general public, to help protect wildlife. The Fund commits 100 percent of donations to on-the-ground wildlife conservation.

Research and Shared Knowledge: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has a long-standing commitment to research. In addition to funding, the company’s SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® parks provide a controlled environment for scientific research. Studies of the animals at the parks complement and strengthen research efforts in the field.

SeaWorld® also works closely with leading scientists, including the independent Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI). The non-profit research institution was established by the founders of SeaWorld in 1963, even before the first park opened its doors, with a mission to “return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it.”

Successful Breeding Programs: SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® have established thriving breeding programs. More than 80 percent of the marine mammals in the SeaWorld® parks were born in human’s care. This includes killer whales, dolphins, and sea lions among other species. Data gained from these programs has added immeasurably to the scientific understanding of marine biology and reproductive physiology.

Busch Gardens® currently participates in 35+ Species Survival Plans, collaborative efforts among Association of Zoos & Aquariums-accredited institutions, to help protect and preserve threatened and endangered animals for generations to come. (Cheetah, African lion, Bengal tiger, Western lowland gorilla, Bornean orangutan, black rhinoceros, chimpanzee and Grevy’s zebra)

The parks’ acclaimed veterinarians also operate the SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Reproductive Research Center, a collaborative resource that pioneers technology and research to help with the management and conservation of wildlife and ensure genetic diversity in captive populations throughout the world.

Animal Ambassador Program: SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® animals also serve as ambassadors. More than 385 animals interact with guests in the parks, and also make numerous media and public appearances throughout the year to raise awareness for conservation and species in danger.

Environmental Partnerships: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment supports environmental organizations worldwide. Ranging from local community initiatives to global wildlife research and conservation programs, these partnerships allow the parks to share animal expertise, strengthen on-the-ground efforts to protect wildlife, and educate millions of people. Just a few of these valued partners include National Wildlife Federation, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

SeaWorld® San Diego’s Oiled Wildlife Care Center is an example of a successful private and public partnership. The complex employs lessons learned from past oil spills to improve wildlife rescue and care. When not being used for oil spill response, the complex houses ill and injured animals being cared for in the park’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation program.

A Commitment to Education

The education programs at SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® have helped schools, teachers, children and adults explore the world and all its inhabitants by providing award-winning education programs that include structured teaching. There are also countless informal teaching experiences inside the parks: educators, show and exhibit narrations, and interpretive and interactive graphics.

The educational impact extends into homes and classrooms across the world through the many innovative programs highlighted below.

Camp Programs: The camp programs at SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® play host to more than 30,000 children annually providing up-close animal encounters and educational activities designed to build knowledge of, and passion for, wildlife.

Instructional Field Trips: This program offers students from pre-school through college an opportunity to use the parks as their own outdoor classroom. The trips include educational animal presentations and self-guided exploration of animal habitats at SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® at a discounted student rate.

Animal Information Website: The SeaWorld®/ Busch Gardens® ANIMALS website features zoological, ecological and conservation-minded material, including species reference resources, classroom curriculum, conservation project calls-to-action, zoological career information, and environmentally focused family activities.

National Awards Programs: The SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Environmental Excellence Awards recognizes the outstanding efforts of K-12 students and teachers across the country working at the grassroots level to protect and preserve the environment. Additionally, the program rewards exceptional teachers through the Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year Award, presented jointly by our company and the National Science Teachers Association.

Teacher Workshops and Resources: The parks’ commitment to teachers is evidenced through numerous teacher workshop series and extensive classroom resources, activities and teachers guides.