· Approximately 100 million sharks are killed every year in the wild, mainly for their fins, making education and conservation essential to species preservation
· SeaWorld parks enable the public to get up close to sharks by viewing, feeding, and interacting with more than a dozen species
· Visitors can learn more about what it takes to care for the more than 500 sharks at SeaWorld with tours and talks above the aquariums
· Guests can better understand what’s being done for shark conservation at SeaWorld and see many species that are vulnerable and endangered
· Thrill seekers can experience what it’s like to move like a shark on coasters Mako and Great White
· Shark lovers can dine next to their favorite species in Orlando’s Sharks Underwater Grill and Bar and enjoy shark inspired cocktails in every park
· Committed to supporting shark conservation everywhere, SeaWorld partners with nonprofit OCEARCH and the SeaWorld Conservation Fund has donated more than $300,000 to shark research conservation projects
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 14, 2022) – SeaWorld celebrates Shark Awareness Day today with the ultimate shark experience for guests of all ages offering shark interactions, education, conservation, and inspired thrills that can be enjoyed all year round. SeaWorld provides world-class care to more than 500 sharks. Its parks offer a range of different choices for guests to get up close by viewing, feeding, and interacting with more than a dozen species. Guests can learn more about efforts to protect threatened and endangered sharks in our parks, including being among the first to see the newest zebra shark pups in Orlando. Thrill seekers can buckle up for a thrilling ride on award winning shark-inspired coasters Great White in San Antonio and Mako, the tallest roller coaster in Orlando. When it is time to refuel, guests can enjoy dining with sharks at Sharks Underwater Grill and Bar in Orlando, and sip refreshing shark inspired cocktails like the Shark-Tail in every park.
Approximately 100 million sharks are killed by people every year in the wild, mainly for their fins, making conservation essential to preserve the species. SeaWorld is committed to educating and inspiring the next generation of shark conservationists through its park experiences. It is also committed to shark conservation outside its parks through partnerships and the SeaWorld Conservation Fund that has donated more than $300,000 to shark research conservation projects.
“We are privileged to care for such a diverse population of shark species and to share these amazing creatures with the public,” said Dr. Chris Dold, Chief Zoological Officer at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Protecting sharks is not always top of mind in part because so many people don’t understand the importance of this species and how they help keep the ocean’s ecosystem in balance. So, creating experiences that enable the public to learn about sharks in fun and engaging ways is essential to better understand and appreciate them as more than just predators. We encourage shark fans everywhere to come out to our park and support Shark Awareness Day and experience the wonder and awe of these stealthy creatures of the deep.”
Providing Park Guests with the Ultimate Shark Experience Including Thrilling, Interactive and Educational Encounters
SeaWorld parks provide a wide range of shark experiences and shark themed activities including:
World-Class Shark Care and Rescue Too
Sharks at SeaWorld receive the same standard of individualized care as every other species and animal in the park. They are fed a nutritious diet including a variety of seafoods such as herring, mackerel, salmon, squid, and shrimp. Every piece of food consumed by every single shark is accounted for as part of the individualized care each animal receives. Animal care specialists feed adult sharks about five percent of their body weight a week during twice weekly feeding. Every shark in our care also receives regular health examinations that include blood draws, weight, size and more to ensure their ongoing health is monitored and tracked.
While shark rescues are rare, SeaWorld parks work with state and national organizations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and local departments of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help. For example. SeaWorld Orlando is home to several sand tiger sharks seized by law enforcement from an individual who illegally collected them. Local authorities such as the Florida Wildlife Commission enforce restrictions on the returning of animals to open water once they have been in human care.
Commitment to the Conservation of Threatened and Endangered Species
Like many other species, sharks suffer many human threats such as overfishing, entanglement, shark finning and bycatch – resulting in a reported more than 100 million deaths annually. Today, more than 300 species of sharks are classified as endangered, including white sharks, whale sharks and hammerheads.
As an accredited zoological organization, SeaWorld participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) SSP, a propagation and management program in accredited zoos to preserve selected species typically classified as threatened or endangered. In Orlando, guests can be among the first to see new zebra shark pups born as part of one such program. In San Diego, guests can see Australian leopard sharks cared for as part of maintaining sustainable populations and genetic diversity of this endangered species.
Conservation extends beyond the parks and since 2016 SeaWorld has partnered with global non-profit OCEARCH to support their efforts in shark conservation through science and education. OCEARCH helps scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean and to date it has tagged 432 animals on 43 expeditions and supported the research of 200 scientists.
OCEARCH Founder and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer said, "Our partnership with SeaWorld has been amazing. In the early days of our relationship, they helped us build out and broaden all the science disciplines to maximize the amount of knowledge and data we collect from every animal we sampled and released. In particular, their expertise in reproductive biology is leading the way in understanding how white sharks mate, reproduce, and give birth. We look forward to partnering with them for many years to maximize the rate at which we can collect data to return our oceans to balance and abundance."
SeaWorld also supports the efforts of other third-party conservation organizations around the world through the SeaWorld Conservation Fund. Since 2004, the fund has donated more than $300,000 to several research projects that aim to further knowledge and understanding of shark species through 3D shark tracking, exploration of vulnerable shark habitats, autonomous underwater vehicles, birthing ground, and shipwreck exploration, tagging and tracking, and more.
About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
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 what it believes is 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 40,000 animals in need over the Company's history. 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 60-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.