SeaWorld Conservation Fund awards 10 emergency grants to help wildlife organizations impacted by Hurricane Ian

  • Emergency grants awarded to wildlife organizations in need through Florida
  • Recipient organizations include other zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, rescue and rehabilitation centers and other non-profit groups
  • Since 2003, SeaWorld Conservation Fund grants have provided financial and scientific support to 1,391 different marine and terrestrial animal and ecosystem conservation projects on seven continents.


ORLANDO, Florida., November 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In response to the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, the SeaWorld Conservation Fund has provided emergency grants to 10 Florida zoological and wildlife rescue organizations affected by the storm. These emergency grants will aid facility recovery efforts and directly benefit a variety of animal species, including big cats, iguanas, lemurs, seabirds, sea turtles, wolves and others. Since its inception as a nonprofit foundation in 2003, the SeaWorld Conservation Fund has awarded grants to 1,391 organizations on seven continents. Earlier this year, the Fund surpassed $19 million in grants to support projects for marine animals, ocean health and conservation.

“SeaWorld is proud to support our other zoological and rescue facilities impacted by Hurricane Ian,” said Dr. Chris Dold, Chairman of the SeaWorld Conservation Fund. “We are all part of an essential wildlife protection ecosystem, and we are grateful to have the ability to step up and help others who share our commitment to protecting wildlife.”

One of the recipients of an emergency grant is the Zoological Disaster Rescue, Response and Recovery (ZDR3), largest zoological response organization in United States. They provide support to zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries and other animal welfare organizations before, during and after significant incidents.

Julia Wagnerexecutive director of Zoological Disaster Rescue, Response and Recovery (ZDR3) said: “Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage to the Florida community and extensive damage to wildlife facilities throughout the state. We are seeing a substantial impact on many facilities and on wildlife that will need support in the weeks and months ahead. These groups need all the help they can get. The SeaWorld Conservation Fund grant to our organization will go directly to the wildlife protection community so that we can help as many groups as possible on their long road to repair, rebuild and reopen. »

The storm also affected area zoos, including the Naples Zoo who are also recipients of an emergency grant from the SeaWorld Conservation Fund. of the grant, Lee Ann Rottmandirector of animal programs at Naples Zoo, said: “Like many groups in the region, our habitats have been damaged by wind and rain and this grant is extremely helpful for our animals and our teams. It will help provide urgent habitats and repairing exhibits, removing trees, replacing fences and repairing erosion are important to keeping our animals healthy and safe.”

Most organizations applying for a SeaWorld Emergency Grant have suffered from damaged fences, major flooding, habitat destruction, wind damage, and other storm-related issues. These have rendered many of their recovery and long-term care habitats unusable.

Save our seabirds rescues and rehabilitates sick and injured seabirds with the goal of releasing them back to their original habitats. They too will receive an emergency grant. “Hurricane Ian is one of the most significant disasters Florida never seen, and the impact on our seabirds is immense,” said Virgin of Aaron, CEO of Save Our Seabirds. “The SeaWorld Conservation Fund grant will allow us to build temporary housing for our brown pelicans and permanent housing for our great blue herons, as their habitats were severely damaged by the storm.”

Other emergency grants awarded to zoological and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organizations include:

  • Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary: a forever home for dozens of exotic animals, provides placement for animals in need, and works to educate the public about animal care and conservation.
  • Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens: a conservation resource offering experiences that excite and inspire children and adults to learn and take action on behalf of wildlife.
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic (CROW): a teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife through advanced veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine.
  • Iguana Land: a reptile zoo, an education and conservation center, founded by a herpetologist and an ecologist, Ty Park.
  • Lemur Conservation Foundation: dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the primates of Madagascar through managed breeding, scientific research, education and art.
  • Shy Wolf Sanctuary: rescue exotic, non-releasable wild animals bred in captivity and provide forever homes for those in need of sanctuary.
  • Bailey-Matthews National Seashell Museum: a natural history museum that educates, inspires, builds community, and connects people through their love of seashells, the various animals that create them, and the natural environment.

About the SeaWorld Conservation Fund

Created in 2003, the SeaWorld Conservation Fund, formerly called the Fund, is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that supports grassroots conservation projects that make a difference in species research, habitat protection, education to the conservation and rescue and rehabilitation of animals. It has provided over $19 million in grants to provide financial and scientific support to 1,391 different marine and terrestrial animal and ecosystem conservation projects on seven continents. Over 100 different species have been helped through these grants. Funding comes from a variety of sources, including contributions from SeaWorld’s corporate body, SeaWorld Entertainment, and parks through registry roundups, merchandise sales, and special events. Corporate partners contribute to the Fund and consumers can support the cause by donating at the parks or online. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. covers all expenses and overhead of the Fund. This allows it to donate 100% of each penny donated directly to the projects supported. Grant applications are accepted annually, although 2022-2023 grant applications are by invitation only. One-time and multi-year support is provided to recipient organizations.

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is a leading theme park and entertainment company delivering experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s leading zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, breeding and veterinary care. The Society collectively cares for what it considers to be one of the greatest zoological collections in the world and has helped advance animal care. The Society also rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured, orphaned or abandoned marine and land animals, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The marine world® The rescue team has helped over 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®Aquatic®Place Sesame® and rescue at sea®. Over its more than 60-year history, the company has built a diverse portfolio of 12 regional destinations and theme parks that are clustered in key markets across United States, many of which feature his one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The Company’s theme parks offer a diverse range of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal that provide memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

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SOURCE SeaWorld Conservation Fund


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