SeaWorld and the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute continue five decades of advancing marine conservation with critical new research, continued reintroductions of a depleted species, and a response to more than 50 animals in distress

ORLANDO, Florida, December 29, 2021 / PRNewswire / – SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS) and the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI), a non-profit scientific research organization committed to the conservation of marine life, is proud to share that in 2021, the partnership continued its five decades of promoting marine conservation with, among others, the publishing cutting-edge scientific research, continuing reintroductions of a depleted species to the wild, and responding to more than 50 distressed marine animals on the west and east coasts of the United States, including dolphins and whales.

Before SeaWorld parks, there was HSWRI. Established in 1963 in recognition of the importance of developing a not-for-profit research institute focused on ocean health, HSWRI and its team of scientists today continue their work to advance ocean science and ocean education. Marine animals. Today, SeaWorld partners closely with the institute, providing financial support, collaborating in conservation research and serving as a source of rescue and rehabilitation for sick, injured and orphaned marine animals.

“The SeaWorld and HSWRI partnership enables the two organizations to provide effective solutions to conflicts that arise between human activity and marine life,” said Don kent, President and CEO of HSWRI. “Through groundbreaking research and our dedication to animal and ocean science, we can tackle the challenges that threaten the health of our marine ecosystems and the animal populations that depend on them. Our individual efforts would not be as effective without this unique partnership.

Located near SeaWorld parks in San Diego and Orlando, HSWRI works closely with zoological teams there to research and study the diverse populations of marine animals under human care. What they learn is applied to identifying and solving many of the challenges species face in the wild. For example, in 2021, HSWRI brought forward these important projects:

  • First scientific guidelines for the protection of marine mammals against the effects of human noise: Hubbs scientists have been collecting auditory data on marine mammals in SeaWorld parks since the 1970s, helping to establish the first scientific guidelines to protect marine mammals from the negative effects of noise. This year, Dr. Anne Bowles, Senior Scientist at HSWRI, included the results of the partnership’s research in a report on the severity of behavioral responses in marine mammals to human-induced noise. The report provides important guidance for scientists to document short-term behavioral changes in response to human-made noise with the aim of reducing negative impacts on animals.
  • Restoration of wild populations of white bass: In 1986, HSWRI scientists began releasing farmed white bass in southern coastal waters. California as part of the Hatchery and Ocean Resource Improvement Program. The program, first conceptualized by the former founder and president of SeaWorld Milton Cabanon, aims to restore wild populations of white bass after the species was believed to be threatened with depletion to less than 10% of its historic level in the 1980s due to overfishing. This year, the project successfully released nearly 60,000 white bass back into the wild. SeaWorld’s water quality specialists provided the expertise and assistance needed to maintain fish life support systems at the hatchery until hatchery and rear released white bass.
  • New species of bacteria found on dolphins help keep people healthy: Wendy durden, Research Scientist II at HSWRI, co-authored the research and published an article documenting a new species of bacteria found on dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon. This new bacteria could pose a toxic or pathogenic threat to dolphins and its discovery could lead to improved dolphin health and longevity both in the wild and in human care.

“We are so proud that HSWRI will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year and are honored to work so closely with them in the conservation of marine life,” said Dr. Chris Dold, HSWRI Board Member and Zoological Director of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. “The value of the research conducted by the institute cannot be overstated as it gives us concrete evidence that the problems facing marine animal populations stem from changes in the viability of their natural habitats caused by global warming. , nutrient overload and habitat loss. Human impacts not only affect the animals, oceans and waterways around us, but those around the world. Our goal is to minimize or mitigate these impacts . ”

For example, the Indian River Lagoon, a primary habitat for manatees, has been severely affected by the depletion of seagrass beds that are the primary diet of this endangered species. HSWRI is collaborating on a program to increase seagrass beds in the Indian River Lagoon for habitat restoration. Scientists are collecting long-term data to assess how well habitat restoration efforts are working and whether aquatic mammals are responding by feeding more often in these newly replanted areas.

In 2021, HSWRI received calls regarding more than 50 distressed wild marine animals, including whales and dolphins. Rescued animals that cannot be immediately returned to their natural environment are transported to SeaWorld facilities for treatment. Healthy animals are then released into their natural environment, while those found to be non-releasable due to chronic health conditions receive long-term care in accredited zoos and aquariums. In addition to helping live animals, extensive examinations are carried out by HSWRI on deceased animals that wash up along the shore. By understanding the causes of disease and mortality, such as entanglement in marine debris or harmful algal blooms, scientists can suggest ways to improve ecosystem health and prevent future injury and death.

About the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, founded in 1963 to conduct research in the tradition of world-renowned scientists Dr Carl L. and Laura C. Hubbs, is a non-profit, public charitable organization dedicated to providing effective solutions to conflicts that activity occurs between humans and the natural world. Hubbs-SeaWorld scientists apply sophisticated technologies to research solutions that protect and conserve marine animals while benefiting humans and their dependence on marine resources. The Institute also recognizes the crucial importance of science literacy as a foundation for competition in the highly technical and competitive global economy and strives to provide innovative education programs to promote science literacy among our children and young scientists.

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company delivering experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect the wild animals and wonders of our world. The Company is one of the world’s leading zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares about what it considers to be one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped advance animal care. The Society also saves and rehabilitates sick, injured, orphaned or abandoned marine and land animals, with the aim of returning them to the wild. The marine world® The rescue team has assisted over 39,000 animals in need over the course of the company’s history. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands, including SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens®, Aquatic®, Sesame place® and sea rescue®. Over its more than 60 year history, the Company has built a diverse portfolio of 12 regional destinations and theme parks which are clustered in key markets across United States, many of which feature its unique zoological collection. The company’s theme parks offer a wide array of rides, shows and other attractions with a wide demographic appeal that provide memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its customers.

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