Partnership continues important research, rescue, education, and policy efforts for keystone marine species including sharks.
SeaWorld continues to support OCEARCH-led research expeditions; SeaWorld scientists join the team aboard research vessels to advance the study of key species
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ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In a continuing effort to support the conservation of marine life through research, SeaWorld and OCEARCH have renewed their multi-year partnership to gather critical scientific data in the study of keystone marine species in the wild. The partnership is focused in the areas of rescue, research, education, and policy to advance understanding and help ensure healthy and abundant populations.
Research – SeaWorld and OCEARCH share research on tagged animals to make that knowledge widely available and utilize this science to protect and preserve marine animals.
Rescue – SeaWorld has rescued more than 40,000 animals and the knowledge gained from their rescue and rehabilitation has added vital knowledge to the conservation of their counterparts in the wild. Some of the animals rehabilitated and returned to the wild by SeaWorld are also tracked on OCEARCH’s Global Shark Tracker, providing valuable, open-sourced data to the public.
Policy – Both organizations will continue their work to utilize the open-sourced data from sampled and tagged marine animals to advocate for the protection of marine life.
OCEARCH Founder and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer said, “Our partnership with SeaWorld has been an important part of making our research possible. They’ve helped us build out and broaden our science disciplines to maximize the amount of knowledge and data we collect from every animal we sample and release. Their expertise in reproductive biology is leading the way in understanding how white sharks mate, reproduce, and give birth. We look forward to continuing to partner with them for many years to maximize the rate at which we can collect data to return our oceans to balance and abundance.”
OCEARCH’s popular Global Shark Tracker houses data on rescued, rehabilitated and returned marine animals. It offers both the scientific community and the public the ability to learn more about threatened and endangered species as they are given a second chance at life. Data on three of SeaWorld’s rescued and returned animals – Gale, a pilot whale, TJ, a dolphin, and Iris, a harbor seal – can now be found at OCEARCH.org.
“Since the beginning of our partnership with OCEARCH, we’ve been proud to collaborate on the conservation research work done by this community of scientists, all with the common goal of securing a positive future for sharks,” said Dr. Chris Dold, Chief Zoological Officer at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
Scientific Study at Sea
Scientific study is conducted aboard a 126-foot research vessel M/V OCEARCH. It serves as a floating science lab and set out on its first expedition when the partnership formed in 2018.
In 2019, SeaWorld Veterinarian and Reproductive Physiologist Dr. Gisele Montano first joined OCEARCH during Expedition NASFA to study shark reproduction off the coast of the Carolinas. She continues to join the research team at sea on key missions.
“SeaWorld and OCEARCH have a great collaboration. OCEARCH allows researchers like me, to study animals in the wild using techniques used at our parks,” said Dr. Gisele Montano, Director of Species Sustainability at SeaWorld Orlando. “SeaWorld and OCEARCH are working together to learn more about white sharks, so we can help protect them and their environment.”
During the expedition, Dr. Montano’s role onboard the OCEARCH Vessel was to ultrasound all animals and collect semen from mature male sharks. The unique aspect of OCEARCH’s Expedition NASFA to the Carolinas was to investigate the area as a possible mating ground for white sharks. The immense movement and track data Dr. Montano and her team received from their past tagged sharks concluded that both males and females spend some time near the coast of South and North Carolina during their yearly migration up the Northwest Atlantic coast.
The OCEARCH team and SeaWorld’s veterinarians, scientists and researchers work together on these expeditions to share knowledge and experience, which will contribute to their shared mission of continuing to educate future generations and advocate for ocean health and marine animal conservation efforts.
About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter, and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The Company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The Company collectively cares for one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The Company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 39,000 animals in need over the last 55 years. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens®, Aquatica®, Sesame Place® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 55-year history, the Company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The Company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.
OCEARCH is a global non-profit organization conducting unprecedented research on our ocean’s giants in order to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean. Our mission is to accelerate the ocean’s return to balance and abundance through fearless innovations in critical scientific research, education, outreach, and policy using unique collaborations of individuals and organizations in the U.S and abroad. OCEARCH is recognized as a world leader in generating scientific data related to tracking (telemetry), and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white sharks, tiger sharks, and more. OCEARCH provides a free open-sourced Shark Tracking service and app that allows scientists, educators, and fans alike to learn about the never before documented movements of our ocean’s animals. OCEARCH’s research is proudly supported by Costa Sunglasses, SeaWorld, Yeti, Ulysse Nardin, Blundstone, Cisco Brewers, Jefferson’s Bourbon and our educational home Jacksonville University. Learn more at ocearch.org.
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SOURCE SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
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