23 marzo, 2023

SeaWorld Rescue Opens the First Dedicated Marine Research and Rescue Center for the Middle East & North Africa


SeaWorld Rescue is now global with the opening today of its first center outside of the U.S. in Abu Dhabi. YasSeaWorld Research and Rescue (YSWRR), Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, is the first dedicated marine research and rescue center in the MENA region (see separate release issued today). YSWRR will be a key contributor to marine-life conservation in both the UAE and the wider MENA region by conducting integrated research, rescue, rehabilitation, return and education programs, informed by SeaWorld’s nearly 60 years of animal care and rescue experience. The first SeaWorld rescue center outside the U.S. establishes a network joined to three locations adjacent to SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego. Together the four locations support local, regional and global conservation efforts for dozens of species, many of which are threatened or endangered. SeaWorld is one of the world’s largest marine animal rescue operations and continues to expand its support in and outside of the U.S.

“The waters of the Arabian gulf are an important marine ecosystem and integral to the fabric of the Abu Dhabi community. The conservation of their marine animals and ecosystems is vital, and we are excited to be a part of this important effort. Expanding SeaWorld’s nearly 60-year legacy of animal care and conservation globally and having the opportunity to share our knowledge with the region is an honor and a privilege,” said Dr. Chris Dold, Chief Zoological Officer of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.

SeaWorld Opens First Rescue Operation Outside the U.S.

The world-class marine rescue and research center includes rescue vehicles and equipment, a rescue clinic, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, rehabilitation pools, onsite lab and aquaculture facility. YSWRR is equipped with a high-tech auditorium and classrooms to facilitate knowledge transfer and inspire the next generation of marine scientists. The center also conducts fundamental research focusing on the marine ecology of the Arabian Gulf and covering topics such as marine biodiversity, ecosystem resilience, sensitive wildlife conservation, critical habitats, fisheries, pollution and wildlife health.

The center, located on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, was developed and will be operated by Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences, and SeaWorld.

Chairman of Miral, His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, commented on this milestone, saying, “We are very proud to begin 2023, the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, with opening the first dedicated marine research and rescue center in the region, Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue. This is a cornerstone in the emirate’s journey of education and conservation, inspiring the next generation of marine scientists to learn more about Abu Dhabi’s impactful long-term vision of protecting our marine wildlife and their habitats. Together with SeaWorld, we will be pushing the limits of science and conservation to become the foremost knowledge hub for marine scientists, not only in the UAE but also in the wider region.” 

His Excellency continued, “With this country’s deep ties to the sea, today’s inauguration is the perfect embodiment of the Year of Sustainability’s theme ‘Today for Tomorrow,’ and is our commitment to forging a sustainable future for our future generations.”

“We are very proud of our partnership with Miral in bringing this first-of-its-kind center to the UAE. Today’s inauguration is many years in the making and we cannot be more excited to make this official announcement and continue our work together to advance the conservation of the region’s amazing and extraordinarily diverse marine life,” Chairman of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Scott Ross, said. “For nearly 60 years, SeaWorld has maintained its unwavering mission and steadfast commitment to protecting marine animals and their ecosystems and inspiring others to act and care for marine life. Our new center in the UAE is an extension of this commitment and expands our reach to the Gulf region with a partner who is equally committed to protecting, preserving and honoring the importance of the sea, and will create a strong regional rescue network to protect and preserve native species in the Arabian Gulf.”

YSWRR joins three other U.S. rescue facilities in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego dedicated to world-class animal care, rescue and rehabilitation. The centers and their teams of marine scientists, veterinarians, animal care professionals and marine animal rescue experts operate 365 days a year to respond to animals in need. Each state-of-the-art rescue facility center is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating ill, injured or orphaned wildlife. Due to their deep expertise and innovative techniques, SeaWorld rescue teams have helped more than 40,000 animals, including whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, turtles, manatees, otters and a wide range of other marine animals. At these facilities, world-renowned animal care specialists, marine biologists and veterinarians also work on critical and life-changing research and conservation projects that impact animal care, veterinary knowledge, habitat restoration and species preservation.

One of the Largest Marine Animal Rescue Organizations in the World

SeaWorld’s expert team of veterinarians and animal care specialists have amassed nearly 60 years of expertise that informs animal care, rescue, rehabilitation and conservation around the world. Each rescue team member undergoes extensive training at SeaWorld and in the field alongside our stranding network partners. They possess a strong working knowledge of animal safety, transporting animals, oil spills and much more.

Rehabilitation and medical treatments are challenging due to a variety of factors including logistics, physiology and anatomy. The experience gained from caring for such a diverse set of species through critical and specialized care in a zoological setting like SeaWorld provides insight and knowledge into animal health and wellness that cannot be replicated by the study of animals outside of human care. These insights contribute toward improved animal health, rescue and triage.

SeaWorld’s goal is always to return rescued animals to their natural environments. However, certain health conditions can make survival without human care unlikely or impossible. In those instances, wildlife authorities determine whether an animal can be returned; if not, zoos and aquariums like SeaWorld provide long-term care and permanent homes.

Study of Marine Animals at SeaWorld Provides Innovative and Scientific Solutions to Challenges Facing Marine Animals, Ocean Health and Conservation

Research is a key component of SeaWorld’s larger commitment to conservation and animal welfare and was established as a priority by its founders five decades ago. This commitment includes publishing research, sharing SeaWorld parks and facilities as controlled research environments, and funding and supporting projects around the world. SeaWorld parks provide a unique environment that allows our team and outside researchers and scientists to better understand marine mammals. SeaWorld makes meaningful contributions to science through the study of animals in our care, and our team has authored or co-authored 400+ peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books. Additionally, the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI) is a nonprofit scientific research organization that has provided innovative and objective scientific solutions to challenges threatening ocean health and marine life since 1963.

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