Conservation and Education Fact Sheet

Conservation and Education Fact Sheet

2/11/2014 9:05:00 AM

SeaWorld Orlando Communications or 407.363.2280


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, management believes 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 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.

Our Legacy of Animal Rescue:

1963 Hubbs–SeaWorld® Research Institute opens with a commitment “to return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it.”

1964 SeaWorld opens in San Diego, Calif., where our first animal rescue team is formed.

1976 SeaWorld Orlando rescues its first manatee.

1980 First bottle-raised orphaned manatee, Marina is rescued, successfully rehabilitated, and released.

1989 5,000-pound Bryde’s whale is rehabilitated after around-the-clock care and returned to the wild.

1997 JJ, an orphaned gray whale calf, begins her 14-month rehabilitation. She is the largest rescued animal ever returned to the wild.

2000 SeaWorld helps save more than 20,000 oiled penguins and nearly 700 orphaned penguin chicks affected by the Treasure oil spill in South Africa. The same year the SeaWorld Oiled Wildlife Care Center, a public-private partnership for environmental stewardship, is formed.

2003 The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund is established. The Fund has since granted more than $9 million to projects around the world.

2005 After Hurricane Katrina, SeaWorld rescues 14 injured or displaced sea lions.

2010 More than 300 cold-stunned, endangered sea turtles are rehabilitated after suffering the effects of record-setting cold—one of the largest rescue events in SeaWorld history.

2010 SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team assists wildlife affected by the BP oil spill, including more than 100 endangered sea turtles.

2011 SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team helps rescue and care for a large group of pilot whales that had beached just north of Key West, Fla. Two of the surviving whales were returned to the open ocean. SeaWorld is providing a permanent home for one of the other survivors.

2012 Around Valentine's Day, SeaWorld San Diego rescued a young sea lion with a severe bullet wound to her flipper after being shot by fishermen. The sea lion, named by SeaWorld staff as Valentine, had the bullet removed by SeaWorld veterinarians and was successfully rehabilitated and returned to the ocean.

2013 After a mass stranding event in St. Lucie county, FL in 2012, SeaWorld Orlando successfully rehabilitates three young pilot whales. 

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 $10 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.

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.

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.