When 10 critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles and 5 endangered Green Sea Turtles became victims of cold stunning in New England – SeaWorld Orlando stepped up to care for them.
There are several permitted facilities in the Northeast of the United States that are capable of taking in sea turtle rescues. In order to ease the burden and ensure that there will be space for new patients requiring care during the colder months of the year, other facilities like SeaWorld can step up and help out. And that’s exactly what the SeaWorld Orlando rescue team did.
Not only did they rehabilitate and provide top notch care for these 15 sea turtles – they did such a great job that all 15 were deemed releasable. Over a 2 week period the SeaWorld Orlando rescue team released the sea turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean in a thriving state.
Since 1980 more than 2,800 sea turtles have been rescued by SeaWorld’s rescue teams in collaboration with government agencies and partner marine life facilities. Now I know that there are a lot of controversial issues related to SeaWorld, but they do a lot of good work that rarely gets any recognition.
My personal interaction with the SeaWorld Orlando rescue team was when a local chain of pet stores called All Pets Emporium here in South Florida closed down their stores. The first store from the chain to close was called AllFish Emporium. This was a HUGE store that had a very large display tank in the back fish room. It housed a bunch of species of marine life including very large eels and several decent sized black tip and white tip reef sharks. When the store closed down, it was very hard to find someone who would be able to properly house and care for these species. It’s also quite expensive to care for these species, so most places can’t house them properly.
SeaWorld Orlando stepped up to the occasion, drove down to Tamarac where the store was located and drove the sharks back to Orlando to their facility. When I was picking up some tanks that my old business partner and I had purchased for our aquaculture facility, I met several of the rescue team members as they were getting ready to transport the sharks. They were super nice and just glad that they could help out.
As the other 2 stores closed my facility that I had at the time was able to take in one of their white spotted bamboo sharks – which was later relocated to the Key West Aquarium by airplane.
I took home their Epaulette Shark and I transported the rest of their sharks to a school in Cutler Bay. This rescue was coordinated by my good friend Matt Heyde and his old intern and friend Rachael. They are now part of her high school veterinary program and cared for by Rachael and her students. These students get a rare opportunity to learn from this species while they care for them.
So this one story is not the first time that SeaWorld Orlando or any of the SeaWorld facilities have stepped up to help out with rescues and rehabilitations. These 2 stories are just 2 of many.
You can learn more about the other stories here: SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team