It’s no secret that SeaWorld has had its fair share of criticism in the past few years regarding the captivity of killer whales, especially with the documentary ‘Blackfish’ exacerbating the idea that the park did not care for the animals it held in captivity. Following the release of the documentary, SeaWorld began re-branding itself in order to shift the focus of animal captivity to the rescue and conservation of marine life. SeaWorld even released their side of the story in a page titled ‘Truth About Blackfish’ which included facts supporting their dedication to providing expert care to those who call SeaWorld home, only one among several campaigns they began to improve their image.
In March 2015, SeaWorld launched their ‘SeaWorld Cares’ campaign that included advertisements highlighting the extensive veterinary care received by the animals, as well as the rescue and rehabilitation programs in which SeaWorld takes part. SeaWorld’s commitment to animal care, conservation, rescue and rehabilitation is the crutch of their work, and by dedicating their time to making a difference to the well-being of animals both in the park and outside of the park, they are able to provide guests with facts and information from veterinarians, keepers, trainers and rescue experts to help emphasize their continuous commitment to the health and well-being of animals.
As part of the SeaWorld Cares website, Ask SeaWorld aims at educating guests by answering questions sent in about the marine park’s animals as well as their rescue and rehab efforts. The page features articles, videos and research that helps educate the public and set the record straight on false accusations and misinformation.
With the rising backlash of the Blackfish documentary, SeaWorld listened to their guests and decided to end the killer whale shows that initially brought them so much success. SeaWorld is unable to release the killer whales into the wild because it would leave them susceptible to unfamiliar disease, and they may not be able to survive to compete for food simply because they don’t have hunting or foraging skills, but they will be introducing new natural orca encounters that focus on the research, education and care for the animals. Rather than theatrical shows, the currently existing pools will be redesigned to imitate a more naturalistic setting.
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Over the course of 50 years, SeaWorld has helped more than 28,000 animals with the assistance of local, state and federal agencies. SeaWorld has provided expert care to animals that are orphaned, injured, or ill with the goal of rehabilitating animals and returning them to the wild. For those animals whose conditions would otherwise give them little chance to survive in the wild, SeaWorld gives them lifelong care at their parks or other accredited facilities. SeaWorld’s animal experts have saved sea turtles with cracked shells, bottle and hand fed orphaned animals, created prosthetic beaks for injured birds, and have even developed an “animal wetsuit” to help injured manatees stay afloat. SeaWorld also helped an entangled humpback whale, rehabilitated three young pilot whales after a mass stranding, and rescued injured and displaced sea lions following Hurricane Katrina.
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports a number of programs, including the reintroduction of cheetahs to their native ranges in Namibia, hiring guards to protect elephants from poachers, cleaning up beaches in North America and much more. In 2015 alone, the Conservation Fund donated thousands of dollars to projects that included cleanup projects along the Mississippi, Illinois, Tennessee and Ohio Rivers, rehab efforts that help prevent the endangered Mexican gray wolf from being killed or removed as a result of human activity, and habitat restoration efforts for sea turtles, bird species like the California Least Tern and the critically endangered Maui Parrotbills. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fun has awarded over $11 million in conservation grants to over 800 organizations, with 100% of the funding they raise going towards conservation projects.
SeaWorld is listening to guests like you and dedicates their time to go above and beyond when it comes to the well-being, protection and conservation of marine animals and wildlife. To learn more about marine life and the animals that call SeaWorld home, you can purchase discount SeaWorld tickets at Tickets2You.com to come face-to-face with whales, dolphins, sea lions and more in the parks’ world-class, state-of-the-art animal habitats.