SeaWorld Rescue: Did You Know?April 27, 2019
Wondering what goes on behind the scenes of SeaWorld Rescue? The team is here to share:
For the Birds
In addition to marine mammals, we also rescue plenty of seabirds and shorebirds, including pelicans, cormorants, and herons! Many arrive at our facility starving, wounded, or tangled in fishing tackle, while others are covered in oil or other hazardous waste, which requires a gentle yet rigorously thorough washing process.
A Little R & R
Rehabilitation and recovery time averages about 3-4 weeks for birds, 6-8 weeks for mammals, and 5-6 months for sea turtles (depending on the time of year they strand). During this time, we closely monitor a Rescue patient’s vital statistics and eating habits until we determine they are capable of thriving in the wild again, at which point they are ready for their return!
Sea turtles rehabilitated at SeaWorld must be returned to the ocean around late summer and early fall, when the water has warmed up to at least 70 degrees. Sea turtles migrate to warmer waters for winter and spring, so returning them to lower temperatures would leave them “cold-stunned” and unable to thrive in the wild.
We rescue marine mammals and sea turtles under a letter of agreement with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service). NMFS is actively involved in the rescue, rehabilitation, and return process, including determining when and where we can rescue marine animals.
VIPs (Very Important Patients)
In 2018, we cared for 5 different threatened and endangered species, including the Ridgway’s rail, the Guadalupe fur seal, the olive ridley sea turtle, the green sea turtle, and the laysan albatross.
We are committed to marine conservation, and hope you are, too! Start by simply keeping beaches and oceans free of litter, which causes harm to marine animals. And remember, if you see a marine animal in need- including mammals, turtles, and birds- call the SeaWorld Rescue hotline at 1-800-541-SEAL (7325)!
Like these videos? See more of the SeaWorld Rescue team in action on our YouTube channel!