SAN DIEGO — Three short-finned pilot whales arrived at SeaWorld San Diego Monday after being rescued and rehabilitated at SeaWorld Orlando.
The three whales — named Ace, Ava and Piper — are the only surviving victims of a 2012 mass stranding near Fort Pierce, Florida, according to the theme park.
U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service officials found that the whales were calves when they were rescued and would not have survived in the wild if they had been released. So, they were brought to San Diego to ensure they receive long-term care and support.
To accommodate the seven-year-old male and two females, SeaWorld San Diego transferred two beluga whales to SeaWorld San Antonio.
“We’re more than thrilled and honored to welcome these pilot whales to their new San Diego home,” SeaWorld Curator of Dolphins and Pilot Whales Wendy Ramirez said. “We have a team of trainers focused on each whale to help them acclimate to their new environment. We’ve even brought some of their favorite toys from Orlando.”
The three whales will join the theme park’s other rescued pilot whale, Argo, who was rescued in 2004 near Kamogawa, Japan. Argo was transferred to San Diego in 2012, according to theme park officials.