With a legacy of animal rescue spanning more than four decades and involving more than 22,000 animals, responding to wildlife in crisis is a commitment we take to heart. Our rescue teams are on call 24/7 and work with government and other members of accredited stranding networks. They assist animal victims of natural events and environmental disasters to those orphaned or injured in need of expert care.
Our goal for all rescued animals is to successfully rehabilitate them for return to the wild. The small percentage of animals whose injuries were too debilitating to permit release are given lifelong care in our parks.
Caring for these animals has inspired significant innovations fueled by our passion, our expertise, and a kinship with wildlife that unites us all. Things like nutritional formulas to feed orphaned animals, a custom “wetsuit” to help an injured manatee stay afloat and sophisticated ways to help save sea turtles with cracked shells.
1963 Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute opens with a commitment “to return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it.”
1964 SeaWorld opens in San Diego, Calif., where our first Animal Rescue team is formed.
1980 First bottle-raised orphaned manatee Marina is rescued and successfully released.
1989 5,000-pound Bryde’s whale is rehabilitated after around-the-clock care and returned to the wild.
1997 JJ, an orphaned gray whale calf, begins her 14-month rehabilitation, becoming the largest rescued animal ever returned to the wild.
2000 SeaWorld helps save more than 20,000 oiled penguins and nearly 700 orphaned penguin chicks affected by the Treasure oil spill in South Africa. The same year the SeaWorld Oiled Wildlife Care Center, a public-private partnership for environmental stewardship, is formed.
2003 The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund is established and has since granted $9 million to projects around the world.
2005 During Hurricane Katrina, SeaWorld rescues 14 injured or displaced sea lions.
2010 More than 300 cold-stunned, endangered sea turtles are rehabilitated after suffering from record-setting cold—one of the largest rescue events in SeaWorld history.
2010 SeaWorld Rescue Team responds to wildlife devastated by the tragic BP Gulf oil spill, including more than 100 endangered sea turtles.