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“what is your aim with the orcas? Is it a breeding program? Or. Please respond”

We believe that there is no substitute for the inspiration that comes with seeing animals up close. SeaWorld is one of the only places where people can truly experience the magnificence of killer whales in this way. Our guests recognize that the animals they see at SeaWorld are in many ways ambassadors for an increasingly fragile and imperiled wild environment. We recognize what a privilege it is to be able to present these amazing animals to our guests and the world. Our mission is for our guests to experience something that makes them more aware, more in awe, more respectful and to go home more motivated to take action than when they arrived. We embrace a very simple philosophy: You will love and protect only what you understand.

In addition to inspiring our guests, researchers have a unique chance to study killer whales in ways that would be impossible in the wild. Watch this to get a glimpse of some of the research happening at SeaWorld that will benefit wild whales:

The original plan for this park was authored in the early 1960s when SeaWorld was no more than a spark of an idea. It hadn’t even been named yet – just “Marine Park.” The plan included a statement of purpose that is as valid today as it was then: SeaWorld will “open a new dimension in human knowledge and understanding of the undersea world and its inhabitants.” We’re proud of our history of education and inspiration, and our work to advance the scientific understanding of killer whales and other marine animals.

“Can someone have asthma be chosen to work at Seaworld? Also, what classes are recommended to take in Highschool and in College? I was thinking a trainer or one to participates in the shows, feeding the animals and more!”

Thank you for your question and your interest in the zoological field at SeaWorld. Having a medical condition like asthma will not prevent you from applying and being considered for a zoological position at SeaWorld; however, some positions at SeaWorld do require that you have a scuba diving certification. For more information on diving and asthma, I would recommend that you refer to the Divers Alert Network or consult with your own doctor.

To learn more about what it takes to be an animal trainer, click here.

Watch this video to see how this trainer became a killer whale trainer:

“How can someone become an animal ambassador @SeaWorld?”

The following is from SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina.

“The people who help spread messages of conservation, rescue and care for animals are all part of our SeaWorld and Busch Gardens animal ambassador team. This team is responsible for caring for the animals, as well as for educational presentation with our park guests, visiting schools, TV studios, hospitals and other events. To become an animal ambassador yourself, you should have a caring, compassionate nature, experience working with a variety of animals using positive reinforcement training and desensitization techniques, enjoy educating both kids and adults, and have an outgoing personality.

It is imperative that we communicate and support current conservation efforts and inspire future generations of scientists, conservationists, veterinarians and all who use their knowledge and skill to aid wildlife and wild places. To become part of this team is a wonderful goal!”

Watch this to learn more about our animal ambassadors:

“I want to help the killer whales and dolphins. What can I do?”

Here is a short list of things you can do to help all cetacean species, including killer whales and dolphins:

1) Stay informed and purchase sustainably sourced seafood. Overfishing and destructive fishing techniques can harm whales and dolphins since these animals rely on prey populations that humans also harvest.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains an excellent series of resource guides for responsible seafood consumption. Click here to learn more.

2) Properly dispose of waste – particularly plastic waste – in your backyard, neighborhood, place of business, and fishing areas. Help clean up waste around watersheds, streams, rivers, lakes, beaches, coastlines, and the ocean. Trash ingestion or entanglement can lead to injury or death for sea life. Making certain that a plastic bag or a length of fishing line doesn’t make its way into the ocean can, quite literally, save the life of a dolphin, turtle, pelican, manatee, sea lion or many other marine species.

3) Make sure to dispose of chemical substances properly. Remember, “All drains lead to the ocean.” While man-made disasters like oil spills can have an immediate and often lethal impact on whales and dolphin species, exposure to small amounts of pollutants over time can be just as dangerous. In whales and dolphins, toxic bioaccumulation can lead to an array of health problems.

“In google maps, if you look at Shamu Stadium San Antonio you can see one of the males in the medical pool. Gates closed, with no trainers around. Why is this?”

It’s difficult to say because we don’t know when the Google photo was taken, but the whale may have been in that pool for veterinary treatment or husbandry behaviors. All of our killer whales are trained to be comfortable spending time in the medical pools at each park.We need to make sure that the whales are acclimated and relaxed in the med pool for their well-being and the safety of our team members.While we refer to these areas as medical pools, the majority of sessions in that pool are fun and engaging to reinforce the animals’ interactions there. This ensures the animals are at ease during any veterinary procedure that may be needed at any time.

It’s important to note that someone from our staff monitors the killer whales 24 hours a day. SeaWorld staff often observes from inside the buildings or covered areas that can be seen at the edges of these pools.

“Does sea world still have shows with killer whales & trainers?”

Yes, we have “One Ocean,” at Shamu Stadium that features trainers and killer whales working together in a high energy show designed to inspire guests to connect with the sea, and make a difference in the world. Guests can get even closer to killer whales and their trainers at “Dine with Shamu,” a behind-the-scenes dining experience. SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorld San Antonio also offer the “Killer Whales Up Close” show, where our training and education staff share more information about these amazing animals and how they care for our killer whale family.

Trainers do not participate in the water during shows. However, we do have in-water interaction with whales as part of our safety desensitization program. Those interactions only occur in pools with lifting floors and not during show performances.

“I have a question, how did your San Diego location accidentally hatch 50 male green sea turtles?”

The turtles hatched in 2009 at the Shipwreck Rapids sea turtle habitat. The habitat was specifically designed to provide optimal swimming for the turtles as well as a sand beach. The sand beach was designed to be shallow enough as to not encourage the turtles to lay eggs. Even with the shallow sand beach the turtles were able to lay eggs and in combination with very hot weather provided the condition for eggs to incubate and hatch. This very unusual event did provide us with the opportunity to collect data and conduct research on these endangered species that will help answer important biological questions that can’t be obtained in the wild. The data was used by the National Marine Fisheries Service for their research projects that compared our hatchling growth rates with wild sea turtles. Click here for more information about NMFS work with green sea turtles.

“where’s the evidence that Morgan was orphaned? I know she was a stranding case but you claim she was orphaned with no proof?”

When Morgan stranded in Holland, she was alone. No other killer whales were seen in the vicinity. Without the direct intervention of the marine animal care experts at Dolfinarium, she would almost certainly have died. Malnourished and weak, Morgan was without the support of a pod and destined to perish without assistance. European news outlets covered Morgan’s rescue in 2010 here and here.

Scientists studying Morgan have determined that she is deaf, which may have contributed to her stranding. She is doing very well living with the other killer whales in her social group at Loro Parque. Learn more here.

“How Is Corky Doing!!?!”

Corky is doing well and we recently devoted an entire month to celebrate the millions of lives she’s touched. She’s currently helping scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego with important research on killer whale heart rates.

This work will not only benefit veterinarians’ diagnostic efforts, but may be essential to improving cardiac monitoring of free-ranging whales and understanding diving physiology.

Watch Dr. Paul Ponganis give more details on this research taking place at SeaWorld San Diego:

Click here to read more.

“doesnt your “three second neutral response” qualify as punishment?”

No. A three-second response, also called a Least Reinforcing Scenario (LRS), is a well-established part of our positive reinforcement technique for training a variety of animals. LRS is an accepted behavioral training method among various animal training communities. The techniques used at SeaWorld are detailed in a great book by Ken Blanchard and SeaWorld trainers Chuck Tompkins and Thad Lacinak called “Whale Done.

“how do you know that the orphaned animals you take in are actually orphaned?”

We sometimes reach the conclusion that an animal is orphaned if it is very young and its mother is nowhere to be found. Our veterinarians and animal rehabilitation staff work with the appropriate regulatory agencies to evaluate when a young animal is in distress, and truly in need of human intervention due to being orphaned or injured. Like all members of the federal government’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network, our rescuers are experienced in determining what animals need assistance and why.

“can you tell us what happened with the Beluga calf?”

All of us at SeaWorld are saddened by the loss of our beluga calf after weeks of intensive, round the clock care. The three-week old calf was born about a month premature and was not gaining weight at the rate our veterinarians expected. Even though it did nurse from its mother, the animal care team hand fed her specialized marine mammal infant formula seven times a day to supplement natural nursing. Belugas, like all cetaceans, have very high rates of newborn mortality in the wild. So while the arrival of a calf at SeaWorld is always a happy time, we recognize how fragile these baby animals are.

A necropsy was performed, with results expected in six to eight weeks. Losing an animal in our care is never easy, and we thank everyone for their thoughts and support during this difficult time for our team.

“so have you guys done any follow ups on TJ the dolphin? Or did you just dump him in the ocean after your PR stunt?”

No part of T.J.’s rescue, rehabilitation and release can fairly be called a “stunt.” We nursed T.J., a common dolphin, back to health and returned him to the ocean, which is the goal for every animal we assist. Without assistance, he would not have survived.

“This was an extremely weak, emaciated, lethargic animal, and it was important we were there to give the support it needed,” said Jody Westberg, SeaWorld San Diego’s stranded animal coordinator. “The day we returned T.J. to the wild was the accumulation of a lot of emotions for me,” Westberg said. “The time, the effort, the energy, the passion the people I work with put into rehabilitating this common dolphin — it all came to fruition in that one moment when we were able to give this dolphin a second chance at life.”

SeaWorld worked with researchers at The Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute to attach a transmitter that would monitor the dolphin’s progress, location and depths of his dives until eventually falling off.

Pam Yochem, the institute’s executive vice president and director of physiology and ocean health programs, said researchers will be able to take the collected data and compare it to other information, such as water temperatures to learn about dolphin habitats.

“What were the factors to make these [pilot] whales be nonreleasable? Thanks!”

Marine mammal experts with the U.S. government make this decision. Their criteria includes physical health and fitness and length of time in rehabilitation. Any chronic health problem that would compromise an animal’s ability to forage and survive in the wild would lead to an animal to be classified unreleasable. Likewise very young animals.

In the case of SeaWorld Orlando’s rescued pilot whales, all four were considered to be nutritionally dependent calves that lacked both survival and socialization skills needed to be successful on their own in the wild. This was determined by NOAA Fisheries. Before they make a decision like this, they convene a group of experts and review each case.

Click here to learn more about SeaWorld Orlando’s pilot whales.