At SeaWorld, the roller coasters whiz by. The stadium is packed with people to see an orca splash. People munch on fried food under the hot Florida sun. It’s just another day at the theme park.
But behind the scenes, the park is on a mission.
SeaWorld’s team, which is always on call 24/7, is busy caring for rescued animals in an area off-limits to the average theme park visitor.
SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Marc Swanson announced the rescuers hit a big milestone: They have saved more than 40,000 animals since 1965. In the first quarter alone this year, the company helped more than 300 animals in need, Swanson said.
“The milestone serves as a bleak reminder that marine wildlife continues to face threats,” the company said in a press release. “Rehabilitation and return can help. For those few deemed non-releasable by wildlife authorities, accredited zoos like SeaWorld can provide permanent long-term care.”
SeaWorld’s animal patients included bottlenose dolphins, manatees, sea lions, seals, sea turtles, sharks and birds, Swanson said during Thursday’s earnings call.
The company is trying to help more animals.
SeaWorld recently announced they are expanding their manatee critical-care facility in Orlando as the beloved manatees die in record numbers in Florida.
SeaWorld Orlando’s space is adding a new three-pool complex that adds 200,000 gallons of water and a new lift floor to an existing pool that doubles the size of the critical-care space at the rescue center, Swanson said.
“Upon completion, SeaWorld Orlando will have the ability to care for 60 manatees in need, the largest capacity in the state of Florida and in the U.S,” Swanson said. “The expansion is necessary to care for the record number of manatees in crisis.”
In between the discussion of revenue, attendance, new rides and budget cuts, Swanson regularly takes a moment to highlight the animal rescue operations on these earnings calls.
“I’m really proud of the team’s hard work, and their continued dedication to these important rescue efforts,” Swanson said Thursday.
The animal rescue operations are an important part of SeaWorld’s Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio parks. During the pandemic, when the parks were shut down and empty, the animal rescuers kept going to work to care for the sick and wounded animals and taking rescue calls.