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Rescue success story: Video shows progress of four pilot whales at SeaWorld

You may remember hearing about a tragic pilot whale stranding back in 2012 in which many of the whales died. Fortunately, there's a happy ending to that very sad story. SeaWorld Orlando rescued three of those pilot whales and they, along with another young whale rescued in a separate incident, are all alive and well at the park.

Click the video accompanying this article to see how well the rescued pilot whales are doing. All four were orphaned and had no chance of surviving on their own, since they weren't yet weaned from their mothers. Thankfully, SeaWorld Orlando has the expertise to make formula for marine mammals, based on their long experience caring for sea creatures. It kept the four youngsters alive, and as you'll see in the video, they're now big, happy, and healthy.

Unfortunately, because they were orphaned at such a young age, the pilot whales can't be returned to the wild because they never learned survival skills from their mothers. In cases like that, the U.S. government decides on the best permanent home for them. Officials chose SeaWorld Orlando, so the four will now live out their lives at the park and perhaps even join the Blue Horizons show.

In the meantime, if you visit SeaWorld Orlando during Wild Days, which runs on Saturdays and Sundays through January 26, you'll see these amazing creatures for yourself. They come out before the Blue Horizons show during the event, so you can see them for yourself and hear more about them from their trainers.

Initially, they were treated with a hands-off approach, other than necessary care, when it looked like there was a chance that they could be released into the wild. Once it was apparent that they wouldn't adapt, the trainers started working more closely with them and teaching them a variety of behaviors. As you can see in the video, they've developed a very strong bond.

If you'd like to learn even more about the pilot whales, jump to this article for a special media presentation. If you'd like to see a video of the park's rescue and rehabilitation facilities, jump to this article.

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