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SeaWorld celebrates five decades of dolphin rescue, rehabilitation and conservation

by Susan and Simon Veness

SeaWorld celebrated National Dolphin Day on April 14, 2022, in honor of their commitment to protecting marine animals and their habitats.

seaworld dolphins
Photos courtesy of SeaWorld

Over the last six years alone, SeaWorld has come to the aid of more than 68 sick, injured, and orphaned dolphins, and the study of the mammals in their care has been one of the keys to their success.

Their experience has resulted in 40 percent of the dolphins they rescue to be treated on the scene and immediately released, positively adding to the impact on the animal’s survival rate.

“Better understanding all species of dolphin and applying that knowledge to the conservation of these extraordinary animals around the world has always been core to our DNA,” said Dr. Chris Dold, chief zoological officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “What we learn through the animals in our care has direct and indirect benefits to the conservation of the species. It directly helps improve the success of our rescue efforts. The findings from research studies conducted by our scientists and outside experts are shared with the larger community, ensuring healthy and abundant wild dolphin populations for future generations.”

seaworld dolphin interaction

SeaWorld is a member of the Southwest Stranding Network, a group of 30 organizations working with law enforcement, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and groups like Audubon Louisiana.

Many of the rescues SeaWorld has been involved in are due to the rise in strandings from flooding and natural disasters, causing displacements from dolphins’ natural habitats and resulting in skin lesions.

“What makes SeaWorld an ideal partner is that we can count on them 24/7 to mobilize quickly and travel anywhere there is an animal in need, even to the most challenging of situations,” said Blair Mase, NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Regional Marine Mammal Stranding coordinator. “The high level of expertise and knowledge SeaWorld brings to the rescue and response of stranded marine mammals is exceptional, and we are proud to partner with them.”

seaworld dolphin performance

SeaWorld dolphin care goes beyond rescues

Among their other programs and successes are:

  • Advancements in veterinary care for seven different species of dolphins.
  • The ability to provide nutritious diets based on the animal’s individual needs.
  • Nature-simulating habitats allowing the park’s dolphins to live in groups and engage in enrichment activities.
  • Biology and anatomy study programs, including new methods of estimating dolphins’ ages using DNA Epigenetic Aging Clocks.
  • Supporting dolphin conservation with nearly $100,000 in conservation fund grants.

For more information on SeaWorld’s rescue program, visit SeaWorld.com.


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