- Five 40-foot temporary emergency pools added to make space for more critical care animals
- New temporary emergency pools can accommodate up to 20 manatees
- More rescues expected due to record low temperatures across Florida
- SeaWorld Rescue Orlando is the largest critical care manatee facility in the U.S.
WHAT: SeaWorld Rescue Orlando has enacted an emergency critical care space plan for manatees this week to accommodate a record number of animals in need. The team is assembling five additional 40-foot temporary emergency pools capable of housing up to 20 animals. The pools will enable existing manatees that are stabilized and ready for rehabilitation to be moved from critical care to the emergency pools, freeing up more space for new rescues. Construction is expected to be complete in the next two weeks. SeaWorld Rescue Orlando is the only rehabilitation facility in Florida currently able to take in critically ill manatees and it expects additional rescues to come in due to the record low temperatures in Florida, in addition to continued arrivals from the ongoing Unusual Mortality Event (UME).
SeaWorld Orlando serves as one of only five critical care facilities in the U.S. for the treatment and care of injured, sick, and orphaned animals, including manatees SeaWorld currently has 28 manatees at its Orlando rescue facility. The team took in 12 manatees in the month of January, the largest number of rescues in the month of January in the rescue team’s history. Since 1976, SeaWorld has provided rescue and rehabilitation for manatees, in partnership with other organizations and agencies, becoming the largest manatee rescue operation in the U.S.
WHEN: Assembly of the new pools is underway with completion expected in the next two weeks.
WHERE: SeaWorld Rescue Center, Orlando
WHO: Jon Peterson, VP of Zoological Operations at SeaWorld Orlando, Head of SeaWorld Orlando’s Rescue Team, and Chairman of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership.
Mr. Peterson is available to speak about the need for expanded manatee critical care space and the ongoing manatee crisis.
WHY: A record UME threatens to return manatees to the endangered species list. With a record number of more than 1,100 manatee deaths in 2021, populations have diminished to dangerously low levels and they face many threats, most dramatically starvation due to depletion of sea grass, their primary food source, along with cold stress, injuries from boat strikes, entanglements, and other illnesses. The recent cold snap affecting large areas of North Atlantic, Mid Atlantic and southern coastal waters will leave dozens – if not hundreds – of manatees in need of critical care.
Since 1976, SeaWorld has helped ill, orphaned, and injured manatees, rescuing, and rehabilitating more than 1,300 manatees to date. SeaWorld’s five-acre Rescue Center in Orlando has the capacity to care for up to 40 manatees at a time -- one of the largest spaces available – and its facilities have a wide range of critical care amenities including lifting floors, top-of-the-line therapeutic and diagnostic equipment, and expert veterinary staff. SeaWorld also is credited for life-saving innovations in animal care and treatment for manatees that includes developing a special baby manatee formula adaptable to meet each individual nursing calf’s requirements and creating a hand-feeding baby bottle that imitates a mother manatee. SeaWorld pioneered manatee treatment techniques including ultrasound, anesthesia, X-rays, surgery, and thermography; SeaWorld veterinarians were also the first to put a cast on an injured manatee.
ABOUT: SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter, and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The Company is one of the world's foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The Company collectively cares for one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The Company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 39,000 animals in need over the last 55 years. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens®, Aquatica®, Sesame Place® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 55-year history, the Company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The Company's theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.