SeaWorld Orlando Rescue and Rehabilitation News for February 2014

SeaWorld has been a steward of animal rescue and rehabilitation for nearly 50 years.  Over the course of that time, more than 23,000 animals have been rescued by SeaWorld’s animal care staff, and the animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  During the first two weeks of February, the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue and Rehabilitation staff has released manatees, sea turtles, and is currently caring for a harbor seal – a rare find in Florida at this time of year.  Continue reading for more photos and details from the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue team.

SeaWorld Orlando Rescued Harbor Seal

SeaWorld Orlando Caring for Female Harbor Seal

A wayward female harbor seal was rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) from the Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach, FL.  The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team met up with FWC and transported it to SeaWorld Orlando.

The four-and-a-half-foot-long harbor seal was lethargic and severely underweight and far from her normal waters.  After the transport to SeaWorld Orlando, the park’s Animal Rescue Team and veterinary staff performed a complete health exam and began providing an antibiotic treatment.  The harbor seal will receive around-the-clock care, including regular tube feedings and fluids, and her health will continue to be monitored.

SeaWorld Orlando Rescued Harbor Seal

As of her last check up, the harbor seal is believed to be 2-3 years old, and weighs only 76 pounds, which is very low for a seal her size.  Harbor seals of this length and age usually weigh 150 pounds.

Harbor seals are normally seen in the waters near New England and have been seen as far south as South Carolina; it’s not known at this time why the harbor seal was found so far south.  Currently at SeaWorld’s marine mammal medical facility, the harbor seal is in guarded condition.

In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 23,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than four decades.

Final Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Rescued off North East Coast Returned

Early this morning, SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team members returned a juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle to the Florida waters at Canaveral National Seashore following more than a year of extensive treatment and rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando.

SeaWorld Orlando Returns Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

The sea turtle was the final one to be returned of 24 that were originally brought to SeaWorld Orlando in December 2012 after being rescued from cold stress by the U.S. Coast Guard just off the coast of Cape Cod, MA.  As a result of the cold stress, the sea turtle developed severe pneumonia and suffered from tissue wounds on his neck and flippers.

Upon arrival at SeaWorld Orlando, the sea turtle underwent extensive treatment, including laser debridement for tissue wounds and a bronchoscopy to examine the lungs.

After being medically cleared for today’s return, the park’s Animal Rescue Team transported the juvenile sea turtle to Canaveral National Seashore, along Florida’s east coast, where the sea turtle was successfully returned to the ocean.

SeaWorld Orlando Returns Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters.  SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 23,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than four decades.  Since 1980, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued more than 1,700 turtles and returned more than 1,100.

So far this year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued five sea turtles and returned seven.

Three Cold-Stunned Manatees Returned to Blue Springs National Park

SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team and several other stranding agencies returned three manatees, a sub-adult female and two sub-adult males, to the waters of Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, FL, after receiving care and rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando for the last few months.

SeaWorld Orlando Returns Manatees

All three manatees were rescued from the St. Johns River in Jacksonville due to cold stress.  “Sissy” was rescued on December 18, 2013, and “Bycatch” was rescued a week later on December 26, 2013, by the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team.  A few weeks later, on January 5, 2014, “Wallace” was rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Following their rescue, Sissy, Wallace, and Bycatch were transported to SeaWorld Orlando for medical care and rehabilitation.  Over the past few months, they received treatment, including antibiotics, fluids and other supportive care.  After being medically cleared for today’s return, the three manatees were transported by SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team to Blue Spring State Park, a designated manatee sanctuary.

At the time of release, Sissy weighed 460 pounds and was 7 feet long, Wallace weighed 660 pounds and was nearly 8 feet long, and Bycatch weighed 775 pounds and measured just over 8 feet long.

SeaWorld Orlando Returns Manatees

So far in 2014, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued three and returned four manatees back to their natural environment.  In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters.  SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 23,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than four decades.

Two Loggerhead Turtles Returned in Melbourne, Florida

SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team traveled to James Nance Park in Melbourne, FL, to return two 100-pound, 2-foot loggerhead turtles.

The first loggerhead turtle was rescued north of Wabasso Beach on October 2, 2013, while the second was rescued from Sebastian Inlet State Park on October 6, 2013.  Both turtles were discovered in fair body condition; however, were floating and unable to dive.  Upon arrival at SeaWorld, both turtles were given antibiotics, treated for parasites, and provided medications to eliminate excess gas within the digestive tract.  Following treatment and further rehabilitation, their buoyancy issues were resolved, and they were ready to be returned.

SeaWorld Orlando Returns Two Loggerhead Turtles

If you see injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at 1(888) 404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.