SeaWorld has been leading the way in their rescue and rehabilitated efforts for the last 50 years. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 29,000 animals in need and is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. They collectively care for what is believed to be one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals.
With help from charitable contributions, donations and from theme park guests is how SeaWorld can continue to do the great work they do. For example, in February SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team received a special gift from Millennia Gardens Elementary School. The Millennia Gardens Elementary Eco Club grew 1,000 heads of lettuce from their student hydroponics garden and donated the complete harvest to SeaWorld’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program. The lettuce took the Millennia Gardens Elementary Eco Club nearly a month to grow as students and teachers worked alongside each other during their afterschool program. Students ranging from third to fifth grade were able to learn important skills through the program including environmental protection, math and teamwork.
SeaWorld Orlando is one of the founding institutions of the Southeastern U.S. Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SEUS). The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team rescue between 20 and 40 stranded marine mammals annually, with the majority being manatees. With vegetation being the primary diet for manatees, SeaWorld Orlando relies on hundreds of pounds of lettuce to feed these rescued manatees daily. Through this new partnership, SeaWorld Orlando and Millennia Gardens Elementary School will work together to positively impact both students and rescued manatees.
“This donation is a truly amazing one. These kids learned how to grow lettuce in a unique way and then went a step further and decided they wanted to help an endangered species – the Florida manatee. At SeaWorld, we are focused on rescuing, rehabilitation and releasing animals in need. It’s also important we educate our community about animals and how we can all help our natural world,” said Jon Peterson, Manager, Animal Rescue at SeaWorld Orlando, “To have these young kids come together, volunteer their time, learn how to grow lettuce and then donate it to the animals in our care – I cannot think of anything more meaningful and special.”
In support of the Millennia Gardens Elementary School Eco Club, SeaWorld invited the participating students and teachers to visit SeaWorld Orlando and spend the night alongside rescued manatees during an educational sleepover field trip that took place earlier this year.
The Millennia Gardens Elementary Eco Club already started to work on their second harvest. Truly a wonderful contribution.
Just recently on May 23rd, SeaWorld Orlando rescue team along side Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) returned a loggerhead sea turtle back home in Sebastian Inlet after 4 month of specialized care. The 230 pound loggerhead sea turtle was found in January floating in the Indian River Lagoon near Fort Pierce. It was missing its left front flipper and covered in barnacles with visible damage on its shell. At the time of the rescue, the turtle weighed 218 pounds. The animal had eaten an abundance of sand dollars, which were creating blockages in its intestines. With patience, medication, and fluid therapy, the rescue team at SeaWorld removed the blockage from the sea turtle.
After a clean bill of health from the veterinarians, the sub-adult loggerhead became the 12th rehabilitated sea turtle returned to the wild by SeaWorld Orlando this year. May 23 has been annually recognized as World Turtle Day since 2000. In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued nearly 2,000 sea turtles since 1980.
The successful rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles is another great example of SeaWorld’s commitment to protecting sea life. The rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.
SeaWorld is more than just a theme park, it’s a caring, hardworking team that helps protect all these animals through the process of rehabilitating and learning from these wonderful creatures that they rescue and have in their facilities. What some folks don’t understand is that it takes years of study to be able to know how these animals live and thrive and what it takes to care for them and it’s through breeding, rescuing and studying them that we now have the capabilities and understanding to care for them.
We applaud the hardwork and efforts of the SeaWorld Team.