While SeaWorld San Diego continues its own record-setting year for marine mammal rescues, the marine park is also donating to other California rescue centers to assist them with the daunting task of rescuing and rehabilitating more than 1,600 stranded sea lion pups this year.
SeaWorld is making $5,000 donations to five non-profit marine mammal rescue facilities:
- Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro
- Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach
- California Wildlife Center in Malibu
- Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife in Santa Barbara
- The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito
"We are grateful for the time and energy the volunteers from SeaWorld have put into helping our facility as well as the generous donation to help us,” said Raymond Simanavicius of the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro. “With the added expense of more medicines and supplements during this increased patient intake, SeaWorld’s time and donation is so appreciated in our ongoing mission to rehabilitate as many seals and sea lions so that they may go back to their natural environment.”
“This is a great example of how SeaWorld is not only working to provide rescue and rehabilitation for marine mammals in San Diego County but also helping to provide some resources and support for other stranding team members throughout California,” said Justin Viezbicke, the California stranding network coordinator for NOAA.
SeaWorld is also making a $5,000 donation to Moorpark College. Students from Moorpark’s Exotic Animal Training and Management Programare currently helping SeaWorld care for the rescued animals.
“We know how hard rescue teams up and down the California coast are working to save these stranded sea lions,” said Michael Scarpuzzi, SeaWorld San Diego’s vice president of zoological operations. “Unlike SeaWorld, these rescue centres are non-profit organisations. We hope the donations will help them as they continue their tireless rescue and rehabilitation efforts.”
SeaWorld has rescued more than 500 marine mammals in 2015, with more than 480 of those rescued animals being California sea lions. Zoological team members from the park’s other animal exhibits are assisting in the effort and animal care staff from SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Antonio, Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens Tampa have also flown out to San Diego to augment the Rescue Team. SeaWorld has also constructed two new temporary holding pools for rescued marine mammals.
Due to the extremely high number of rescues, the marine park suspended its popular sea lion and otter show Sea Lions LIVE on 7th March for at least two weeks to allow animal caretakers from that facility to assist with the park’s rescue efforts. SeaWorld also suspended it Beluga Whale Interaction Program so that trainers from the park’s Wild Arctic exhibit can augment the Rescue Team.
Over its 51-year history, SeaWorld San Diego has rescued more than 15,000 animals, including marine mammals, seabirds and turtles.