SeaWorld Conservation Fund celebrates 20 years with 22 grants

In 2022, SeaWorld Conservation Fund not only found grant recipients who rescue, rehabilitate, and research, ten emergency relief grants were also given to groups impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Images provided by SeaWorld Conservation Fund

The SeaWorld Conservation Fund began providing grants back in 2003. Since then, the grant recipients have totaled over 1,300 projects covering all seven continents, and as of today, the fund has granted more than $20 million and have helped over 40,000 sick, injured, orphaned, and stranded marine animals.

They are one of the largest organizations in the world that rescues marine animals, with the goal of rehabilitation and returning to the wild when possible. The 2022 grants are inline with this goal. Consequently, some of the animals that will benefit from these recent grants include coral reefs, dolphins, manatees, penguins, seals, seabirds, sea turtles and whales. 

Sea Turtle releaseImage courtesy of SeaWorld Conservation Fund

“We are committed to advancing animal conservation and preserving wildlife species and their natural habitats across the globe,” said Dr. Chris Dold, president of the SeaWorld Conservation Fund and Chief Zoological Officer of SeaWorld. “Protecting wildlife is no small mission and requires the teamwork and support of countless organizations focused on animal rescue and rehabilitation, conservation education, habitat protection and species research. We are proud to be able to provide financial support that helps these organizations continue the work imperative to our common goal of wildlife conservation.” 

2022 SeaWorld Conservation Fund Grant Recipients

The recipients of 2022 grants all have goals similar to the SeaWorld Conservation Fund.

  • Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network aids marine mammals that have been stranded along Texas’ coastline. 
  • Coral Restoration Foundation is the largest reef restoration organization in the world. In order to regrow coral that has been deemed “critically endangered”, they rely on staff, volunteers, and interns. They also educate people on why coral restoration is so important not just to the ocean, but to everyone. 
  • Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds focuses on the conservation of southern African seabirds and their marine environment. 
  • Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association aims to protect the most important sea turtle nesting beaches and mangrove wetlands of the Pacific coast of Guatemala.
  • Norwegian Orca Survey is a program that studies killer whales throughout Norway by photo documentation and DNA. This helps them design better conservation strategies to protect killer whales. Human threats are just one of the issues they can identify via their research. 
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution focuses on ending lethal fishing gear entanglements by advancing buoyless fishing. Often endangered whales and sea turtles are victims of fishing gear, and this organization is working to end that.
  • Alaska Sealife Center does research on non–releasable Alaskan ice seals to better understand their behavior patterns to better help the arctic marine ecosystem, and marine life in general. 
  • AMPA-Friends of Manatee Association monitors an Amazon River dolphin population, as well as other Amazon river species. 
  • Rising Tide Conservation studies marine fish to help promote their sustainability.
  • The Society for Marine Mammalogy fosters international partnerships and collaborations to improve the quality of research on marine mammals within the science community. 
  • Restore America’s Estuaries focuses on marine habitat preservation in bays and marshes. 
  • Tampa Bay Watch organizes community projects, including field trips, to help keep Tampa Bay clean of marine debris.

SeaWorld Conservation Fund Emergency Grants

The ten emergencey grants were given to help wildlife organizations impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian damage at Zoological Disaster RescueAssessing damage caused by Hurricane Ian at Zoological Disaster Rescue

Damage from Hurricane Ian at the Shell MuseumDamage caused by Hurricane Ian at the Shell Museum

The organizations that applied for a SeaWorld emergency grant suffered from many storm related issues, such as habitats destroyed, damaged fences, flooding, and wind damage. 

  • Zoological Disaster Rescue, Response and Recovery provides support during incidents to zoos, sanctuaries, aquariums, and other organizations that care for animals.
  • Naples Zoo is a zoo and botanical garden in Naples, Florida.
  • Save our Seabirds rescues and rehabilitates sick and injured seabirds, with the goal being release.
  • Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary is a permanent home for dozens of exotic animals in need. They also educate the public about the animals. 
  • Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a conservation resource that provides experiences that excite and inspire children and adults to learn and act on behalf of wildlife.
  • Clinic of Rehabilitation of Wildlife is a teaching hospital and also a visitor education center. The clinic is dedicated to saving wildlife through veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine.
  • Iguanaland is a reptile zoo, education and conservation center, founded by herpetologist and conservationist, Ty Park.
  • Lemur Conservation Foundation is an organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of lemurs in Madagascar. 
  • Shy Wolf Sanctuary is a permanent sanctuary for captive-bred exotic animals that can’t be released into the wild. 
  • Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a natural history museum focusing on shells. Their mission is to educate and bring people together. They do this through their love of shells and how they impact and are impacted by the animals around them.

About SeaWorld Conservation Fund

The SeaWorld Conservation Fund, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit private foundation with the goal to support, “grassroots conservation projects that make a difference in species research, habitat protection, conservation education, and animal rescue and rehabilitation.” Funding comes from many sources, including money made by SeaWorld Entertainment via tickets, merchandise, and special events. Grant applicants can apply more than once, and are accepted annually. However, 2022-2023 grant applications are invitation only. 

Individuals can also make donations in the parks or online. Because SeaWorld Entertainment covers the expenses for the Fund, they’re able to return all donations directly to projects that aid in marine animal conservation. To help fund the conservation efforts, come to SeaWorld in San Antonio, TX during Spring Break.

For more ways to help, you can also check out SeaWorld Conservation Fund.