World of Difference: Animal Rescue

By: Dusty Arlia
Published on October 15, 2011
Last Updated on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 12:47 AM
Total Updates: 4

This video was embedded from the source code at

This YouTube video " World of Difference: Animal Rescue" tells the story of SeaWorld's Animal Rehabilitation Program. The SeaWorld Animal Rehabilitation Program is dedicated to returning rehabilitated animals to the wild. It is an important part of SeaWorld's commitment to conservation, research, and education. Through their program they rescue, treat, shelter, and release stranded animals.

So what is a stranded animal? A stranded animal is any live marine animal that is out of its natural environment. The term stranded is generally used to refer to marine mammals or sea turtles. SeaWorld also rescues a variety of ill and injured birds. In their program the term stranded refers to birds as well. When birds, marine mammals, or sea turtles strand, death is usually imminent if there is no intervention. For many stranded animals their condition is a life or death situation.

Some examples of stranded animals include a dolphin lying on the beach, a seal that is out of its range, or an ice bound whale. It takes experts to distinguish if an animal is stranded or not. A healthy pup, which may appear stranded because it is thin, feeble, and crying, may have a mother nearby. Just because a sea lion pup is left on its own does not always mean it is stranded. Pups are frequently left behind when their mothers are foraging for food.

Other animals that might need to be rescued might be ill or hurt. In general, a marine animal may strand if it has a severe, debilitating illness or injury, or if it is too weak to hunt for food. A wild animal with an illness or injury generally will try to mask its symptoms for as long as possible to avoid predators.

Here's a list of all the reasons for animal stranding:

  • Parasitim
  • Diseases
  • Exhaustion
  • Separation
  • Entanglement
  • Ingestion of non-food item
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Habitat Loss
  • Toxins

SeaWorld animal care staff responds to reports of possible strandings. If the animal is a pinniped, rescuers may observe it for several minutes or hours to determine if it is in fact in need of assistance. To prevent pinnipeds from injuring themselves further, they are transported in cages designed to restrict movement. Whales and dolphins are lifted with strong nylon slings and transported in padded fiberglass transport units.

The animals go through medical examination and treatment right away. Then after being medically treated they are nourished and rehabilitated back to physical health.

Since the SeaWorld Animal Rehabilitation Program began in 1965, they have had over 17,000 animals rescued. Here is a list of some of the animals they have rescued over the years:

  • Green Loggerhead Sea Turtles
  • Hawksbill Sea Turtles
  • Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles
  • Leatherback Sea Turtles
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Brown Pelicans
  • Herons
  • Cormorants
  • Egrets
  • Terns
  • Grebes
  • Storks
  • Cranes
  • Laysan Albatross
  • Hawks
  • Gray Whales
  • Bryde's Whales
  • Minke Whales
  • Common Dolphins
  • Risso's Dolphins
  • Bottlenose Dolphins
  • Pacific White-Sided Dolphins
  • Spinner Dolphins
  • Spotted Dolphins
  • Northern Right Whale Dolphins
  • Killer Whales
  • False Killer Whales
  • Pygmy Killer Whales
  • Pilot Whales
  • Sperm Whales
  • Pygmy Sperm Whales
  • Dwarf Sperm Whales
  • River Otters
  • Sea Otters
  • California Sea Lions
  • Seal Pups
  • Harbor Seals
  • Northern Fur Seals
  • Guadalupe Fur Seals
  • Ringed Seals
  • Hooded Seal
  • Walrus Calves
  • Manatees

This is the description from their video posted on YouTube:

For over 40 years, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Discovery Cove have maintained a quiet commitment to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals in need - be they ill, injured, orphaned, or otherwise requiring care. What has become an extraordinary commitment did not start as a grand idea. Quite the contrary. It began with a single animal in need of help. Our staff committed their time, effort, and energy toward the rescue and rehabilitation of that first animal. Then one rescue became two. Two became three. Today, over 17,000 distressed animals have been sheparded through our rescue program. (That's the equivalent of helping one animal every day since that first rescue way back in 1965!) So what started as a single act of kindness has become a singular commitment to animals in need. We may not speak of it often. We may not speak of it loudly. Without question, though, our Rescue & Rehabilitation program is one of our proudest efforts. It is a core part of who we are and what we strive to be.

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