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September 15, 2017

SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team on the Move After Hurricane Irma

 Reports of displaced, stranded animals keep teams busy


Orlando, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017) – As Florida continues to clean up in the wake of Hurricane Irma, it’s been a busy week for the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue team. Reports of stranded, displaced and injured animals have increased, and the park’s rescue team, along with partner and government agencies, has been called to assist.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, a manatee calf was found orphaned or abandoned in Southwest Florida, presumably as a result of Hurricane Irma.  Manatee calves and moms have tight bonds, and if a calf is seen without a mom around for several hours it's very likely that calf has been orphaned.  Since manatees nurse for 1-2 years, a calf on its own has very little chance of survival.  

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission rescued the calf and transported it to SeaWorld Orlando.  Upon arrival at SeaWorld, the animal care team provided fluids to the calf as it was suffering from dehydration. Beginning this morning, the calf was transitioned to a nutritional formula created by SeaWorld that replicates mother’s milk. An animal care specialist will give the calf a bottle every three hours for the next several months. The veterinary team took x-rays of the calf today to see if his gastrointestinal tract is functioning properly and were pleased to see that it is.
Orphaned calves are typically rehabilitated until they are at least 600 pounds, which usually takes about two to three years.  At that time if they are deemed healthy they will be returned to their natural environments.
Earlier today, the team assisted in successfully rescuing and relocating six manatees that had stranded in the Melbourne, FL area, likely due to unusual tides and water levels associated with Hurricane Irma.
SeaWorld Orlando aviculturists are also caring for several birds, including an Audubon’s shearwater, a species typically found offshore that may have been blown inland from the storm.  A juvenile brown pelican is also being cared for. 

The five dolphins that were relocated from Dolphin Connection in the Florida Keys prior to the hurricane continue to thrive. 

SeaWorld will continue to work with other zoological facilities impacted by the storm and are prepared to care for displaced animals as necessary.  Its animal experts have helped more than 31,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than 50 years.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ 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, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is 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 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-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.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company. Visit www.seaworldentertainment.com for more information.