Rescued, Rehabilitated and ReunitedAugust 16, 2016
It was the morning of September 1, 2012 when unsuspecting beach goers stumbled upon an heartbreaking scene. A mass stranding of 22 pilot whales on the shores of Ft. Pierce, Florida.
Animal expert teams from our park, Harbor Branch, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Marine Mammal Conservancy, University of Florida, and Ocean Embassy, as well as specially trained and qualified Harbor Branch team members and volunteers were called to the scene to help these animals.
One former volunteer for Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, Tiffany, who is now a Senior Animal Trainer at Dolphin Stadium, remembers this day all too well.
“Along with state and federal wildlife experts, we tried for hours to help keep the whales cool, wet and comfortable on the beach. Unfortunately, many did not survive. Those that did would get a second chance.”
Tiffany had the unique opportunity to see some of these amazing animals through their rescue and rehabilitation. Through her work with SeaWorld, Tiffany has been reunited with Ava and had the honor to work with her, and the other pilot whales, during their time at Dolphin Stadium.
The quick actions taken by members of the public, volunteers like Tiffany and each animal care expert involved in this rescue made all the difference in saving Ava on this day. You can make a difference, too by calling the local Marine Mammal Stranding Network if you ever see a marine animal in need. Be sure to immediately report entangled, injured or dead marine mammals to 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343).
SeaWorld's Animal Rescue Teams are on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 28,000 animals in need- ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned - for more than five decades.