SeaWorld surpasses 35,000 animal rescues

SAN DIEGO — SeaWorld Entertainment announced Friday that the animal rescue teams at its parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio have surpassed 35,000 marine and terrestrial animal rescues since the company’s 1964 founding.

In San Diego, SeaWorld’s rescue team has rescued more than 20,000 animals since 1964, including roughly 500 marine animals this year alone. According to the company’s rescue data, human activity like plastic pollution and urban development may be causing a recent spike in ill and injured animals found by the rescue teams.

The company announced its launch of an Instagram account, SeaWorld Rescue, to display its animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts and raise awareness for the threats facing marine and terrestrial wildlife due to human activity. The launch was timed in conjunction with World Oceans Day, which is Saturday.

“SeaWorld has been a long-standing valuable partner in promoting marine conservation, and rescuing and rehabilitating stranded, entangled or imperiled marine wildlife,” said Donna Wieting, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries’ Office of Protected Resources. “On World Oceans Day, NOAA and SeaWorld remind the public that they, too, have an important role in reporting stranded or injured marine animals.”

SeaWorld’s rescue teams work with federal agencies like the NOAA to rescue animals throughout the year. SeaWorld parks are also one of several destinations for animals the NOAA deems not able to be released back into the wild.

So far this year, SeaWorld San Diego’s animal rescue team has rescued dozens of California sea lions and various seal species. The team has also rehabilitated a sea turtle and more than 300 marine birds.

“For SeaWorld, our commitment to conservation runs deeper than saving a single animal on a beach,” said Jon Peterson, the senior leader of zoological operations with SeaWorld Orlando. “We want to save and support their entire species, the ecosystem that they live in and the food sources that they feed on.”

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