Seaworld Expands Killer Whale Habitat – Blue World Project

SEAWORLD ANNOUNCES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND KILLER WHALE ENVIRONMENT

AND MORE THAN $10 MILLION IN NEW FUNDING FOR RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION PROJECTS

 

SAN DIEGO (Aug. 15, 2014)  SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. announced today that it plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and that it will fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild. The new projects will build on SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art, innovative, homes for its animals, and will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come. As part of its vision for the future, the company also pledged $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research and is embarking on a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health, the leading concern for all killer whales and marine mammals.thumb_image_8613

For 50 years, SeaWorld has transformed how the world views marine life. The unprecedented access to marine mammals that our parks provide has increased our knowledge of the ocean and inspired generations,” said Jim Atchison, Chief Executive Officer and President of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “Our new killer whale homes and research initiatives have just as bold a vision: to advance global understanding of these animals, to educate, and to inspire conservation efforts to protect killer whales in the wild.”SEA Beach View (Large)

Transformational New Environments

The first of the new environments will be built at SeaWorld San Diego where the killer whale environment is planned to have a total water volume of 10 million gallons, nearly double that of the existing facility. With a planned maximum depth of 50 feet, surface area of nearly 1.5 acres and spanning more than 350 feet in length, the new environment will also have views exceeding 40 feet in height, providing guests with the world’s largest underwater viewing experience of killer whales.SEA Underwater View (Large)

Named the Blue World Project because of its size and scope, the new environment will allow for increased engagement with SeaWorld experts through new enriching experiences and other interactive programs. The environment will enhance the educational experience for guests, foster deeper knowledge of killer whales and their ocean environment and inspire them to celebrate and conserve the natural world.SEA SWSD Site Plan (Large)

Through up-close and personal encounters, the new environment will transform how visitors experience killer whales,” said Atchison. “Our guests will be able to walk alongside the whales as if they were at the shore, watch them interact at the depths found in the ocean, or a birds-eye view from above.”thumb_image_8615

Expanding on SeaWorld’s legacy of leading-edge animal environment design, the enlarged environment will provide killer whales with even more dynamic opportunities. It will support the whales’ broad range of behaviors and provide choices that can challenge the whales both physically and mentally. Among other things, it is planned to include a “fast water current” that allows whales to swim against moving water, thus functionally increasing speed and diversity. Innovative features focused on husbandry and animal care will offer SeaWorld’s animal health professionals and independent scientists unique access to the whales that can lead to a better understanding and care of the animals both in the parks and in the wild.thumb_image_8614

The San Diego environment is expected to open to the public in 2018 with new killer whale homes to follow at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio.

Killer Whale Research

As part of the Blue World Project, SeaWorld has committed $10 million in matching funds focused on threats to killer whales in the wild, especially those identified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration related to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale. That includes new projects already funded this year: one that will help to understand the hearing ranges of killer whales and the other that will provide insight into nutritional status and reproduction of the Southern Resident Killer Whale. The matching funds will be in addition to killer whale research conducted by SeaWorld’s scientists, which includes nearly 50 studies to date.

The Announcement

The announcement was made today (August 15th) at SeaWorld San Diego.

Sea Street Band performed today just before the company’s announcement of plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and to fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild.  Blue World Project™ will begin at SeaWorld San Diego and then will follow at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld® San Diego

Killer whale environment announcement image Sea Street Band

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment® Vice President of Veterinary Services Christopher Dold makes remarks during an announcement today of plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and to fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild.  Blue World Project™ will begin at SeaWorld San Diego and then will follow at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld® San DiegoKiller whale environment announcement image Chris Dold San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria makes remarks during an announcement by SeaWorld today of plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and to fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild.  Blue World Project™ will begin at SeaWorld San Diego and then will follow at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld® San DiegoKiller whale environment announcement image Todd Gloria SeaWorld® San Diego Park President John Reilly makes remarks during an announcement today of plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and to fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild.  Blue World Project™ will begin at SeaWorld San Diego and then will follow at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld® San DiegoKiller whale environment announcement image John Reilly

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment® CEO Jim Atchison makes remarks during an announcement today of plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and to fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild.  Blue World Project™ will begin at SeaWorld San Diego and then will follow at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld® San DiegoKiller whale environment announcement image Jim Atchison During an announcement today SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment® CEO Jim Atchison (center at lectern) is joined by SeaWorld team members and San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria for the unveiling of renderings of new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments.  Blue World Project™ will begin at SeaWorld San Diego and then will follow at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld® San DiegoKiller whale environment announcement image Unveiling

We think this is a marvelous announcement, SeaWorld is battling the criticism they’ve recently received, and with this state-of-the-art facility and research project they are bound to disprove critics and better the health of their killer whales and the experience of guests!

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