The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) and SeaWorld San Antonio have announced a significant expansion of their partnership in helping to rescue and assist marine mammals along the Texas Coast. Over a three year period, SeaWorld San Antonio is committing approximately $1.1 million in additional funding and resources, including: SeaWorld animal care professionals and veterinarians dedicated to work with TMMSN; as well as a new state of the art facility at SeaWorld San Antonio to provide 24-hour care for sick and stranded animals that need long term rehabilitation. This facility will ease the burden on TMMSN’s resources when rescued animals are in need of long term care.
In its 50-year history, SeaWorld has rescued more than 29,000 animals in need, and this expanded partnership will support much needed efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, and continues the company’s commitment to be the largest marine animal rescuer worldwide.
“TMMSN is one of the nation’s most dedicated animal rescue organizations, relentless in its work to help marine mammals in the wild,” said Chris Bellows, Vice President of Zoological Operations, SeaWorld San Antonio. “I am personally and professionally moved by the many volunteers who tirelessly donate their time and energy. It is a pleasure to work alongside the TMMSN and offer our professional resources as we join together to help rescue and rehabilitate stranded animals with the shared goal of returning them to the wild.”
This announcement comes at a critical time, as January marks the beginning of the annual stranding season which is triggered by winter weather, changing water temperatures and the calving season. The TMMSN typically can see up to 150 stranded or injured marine mammals each year along the Texas coast, with the most common being the bottlenose dolphin.
State Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) commended the partnership between SeaWorld and TMMSN as an example of the private and non-profit sector working hand-in-hand for the betterment of Texas wildlife. “Protecting our marine mammals and the beautiful natural habitat of the gulf coast is important to the quality of life for all Texans,” said Taylor. “I commend TMMSN for its commitment to assist and rehabilitate injured animals. With the resources that SeaWorld provides, we are helping to ensure that our marine mammal populations will continue to thrive for generations to come.”
The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network is a non-profit organization created in 1980 to further the understanding and conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education. TMMSN is dependent on grants as well as public and private donations. “SeaWorld has been a friend and partner for more than 30 years sharing our passion for protecting wildlife,” said Heidi Whitehead, Executive Director, TMMSN. “This additional commitment from SeaWorld allows us to continue our high level of animal care, research, and education. SeaWorld never hesitates to answer our call for assistance, making its animal care staff and veterinarians available 24/7 when we have an animal in distress,” added Whitehead.