SeaWorld Orlando is getting a bad rap from the movie "Blackfish," which plays fast and loose with the facts to cast the park in a bad light. Unfortunately, in an attempt to focus more on emotion than truth, the movie conveniently neglects to mention that SeaWorld has saved more than 20,000 animals over the years.
The rescue work continues, with everything from birds and sea turtles to dolphins and manatees benefiting from the rescue team's devotion. They're on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help animals in distress. Rescued creatures are cared backstage at the park, in the rehab area, until they're healthy enough to be released back into the wild. If they have permanent injuries, they live out their life at the park.
Check out the video accompanying this article to learn more about the rescue program and see the facilities firsthand. SeaWorld Orlando offers a variety of backstage tours, including one that focuses on rehab, so you can see how it cares for its animals with your own eyes rather than relying on a slanted movie view.
As you'll see in the video, there are large tanks where animals can be isolated and receive veterinary care. Some need 'round the clock help, like orphaned manatees that require bottle feeding every three hours. There are other spots where the animals can receive care when they're stabilized and out of immediate danger. For example, sea turtles and manatees go to the Turtle Trek attraction, where you can observe them in their habitat.
One of SeaWorld Orlando's biggest recent success stories was the rescue of four pilot whales, which were orphaned in two different instances. The orphaned creatures are now older, healthier, and living in the dolphin stadium. You can learn more about their story, and see them working with trainers, by jumping to this article and watching the video. If you'd like to see them in person, come during Wild Days on Saturdays and Sundays through January 26, when they'll be out before each of the Blue Horizons dolphin shows.
Learn more about the park's rescues from Jon Peterson by going to this article.