Earth Day 2021 – Our Continued CommitmentApril 22, 2021
It seems 2021 is destined to be a pivotal year. Climate change still threatens, habitat destruction, species extinction and sea-level rise are real. And now, a global pandemic has pushed Mother Earth to her limit. While it can be easy to get discouraged, there is a tremendous degree of hope. We are in a time of environmental awakening where habitat protectors and wildlife warriors are hard at work around the world. And, for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, protecting resources, aiding wild animals, and developing innovative solutions is in our DNA.
The SeaWorld Conservation Fund has helped fund a program at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, aimed at restoring marshlands. We’ve partnered closely with the Everglades Foundation on this critical project, as healthy wetlands play an important role in cleaning groundwater, reducing the risk of wildfires, and providing essential habitats to wading birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Three years into the program and huge flocks of black-bellied whistling ducks have returned to the area, attracted to the diversity of plants. Mother Earth is winning here!
In the Pacific Northwest, SeaWorld is funding the Killer Whale Research and Conservation program, one component of which is a study of contaminant transfer from mother orcas to their calves during gestation and lactation. Southern Resident killer whales have low successful calving rates and it’s hoped that this data will help scientists understand how this factors into breeding success. There is much more to be done to support Mother Earth here.
In Florida, SeaWorld joins a diverse group of coral reef management and conservation leaders who have banded together to respond to an environmental crisis to save coral reefs. The Orlando-based Florida Coral Rescue Center is a state-of-the-art facility established for gene banking and care of Florida corals rescued from reefs not yet affected by the stony coral tissue loss disease sweeping across the Florida Reef Tract. As part of a national network of coral holding or gene banking facilities coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, it is the largest facility of its kind in the U.S. and provides a safe, stable environment for coral colonies to receive world-class care from a team of coral experts. It will play a significant role in the future of Florida’s Coral Reef. Mother Earth loves collaboration!
California’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network is busy rescuing pinnipeds from beaches up and down the coast all year long. Mostly young seals and sea lions, the animals are usually dehydrated and emaciated, too weak to continue making it out at sea. They often require some medical treatment, a lot of healthy food and a little rest and relaxation. SeaWorld San Diego rescued more than 800 animals last year. The goal of the rescue program is to return healthy animals back to sea and success is seeing them jump off the boat named Second Chance and swim vigorously into the deep blue ocean. Mother Earth is grateful people care so much!
The North Atlantic right whale used to be a common sight off the East Coast of America. Now, sadly, there are only about 400 of the large mammals left. Entanglement in trap and pot fishing gear is one of the most serious threats to this species. The SeaWorld Conservation Fund has partnered with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to fund testing of alternative non-lethal fishing gear to help with this problem. Whales commonly entangle in ropes that connect crab or lobster traps on the seafloor to buoys on the sea’s surface. Removing this end line from trap and pot fishing gear will significantly reduce or possibly even eliminate entanglements. SeaWorld’s resources are being used to evaluate and test alternative gear. Mother Earth is hopeful that innovation will be able to save this species!
On this Earth Day, SeaWorld reinforces the company’s commitment to marine conservation, research and education. From tropical rainforests to parched deserts, from the churning sea to snow-capped mountains, all prompt us to remember that we only have one Earth and she is a treasure. Earth Day is a conscious reminder that we all share the responsibility of taking care of our planet and we each must do our part to protect that which gives us life.