SeaWorld Update on Pilot Whale Calf

Filed under: SeaWorld |

Early last Saturday morning, SeaWorld’s animal experts and rescue team transported a young pilot whale to Orlando to the park’s new Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility. The 9-foot, nearly 600-pound whale was being cared for in Key Largo, Florida, by SeaWorld staff and other volunteers after it and 20 other pilot whales beached themselves in the lower Florida Keys in early May.

SeaWorld Orlando was chosen after the National Marine Fisheries Service and other animal experts considered the two-year-old female whale to be a “dependent calf” that could not be returned to the wild. The young whale was in dire need of extensive hands-on treatment and was in need of a home and some  long-term care.

In order to make the five-hour trip to Orlando, the whale was carefully placed in a stretcher and then into a large, water-filled transport unit in a cooled truck. The whale was then continually monitored by park animal experts and chief veterinarian, Dr. Chris Dold, during the trip.  Dold said:  “It’s still too early to tell her long-term prognosis, but she traveled well, she’s getting settled into her new surroundings, and we’re cautiously optimistic about her future.”

Upon reaching Orlando, the pilot whale was carefully moved into SeaWorld’s new, 40,000-gallon rehabilitation pool, a facility designed specifically to rehabilitate whales and dolphins rescued from the wild. At the facility, the park’s animal experts will monitor the whale round the clock, performing physical examinations and additional testing. SeaWorld’s goal is to have her join the company’s other pilot whales in the near term and ultimately to release her back to the wild in the future.

As a footnote, SeaWorld has been instrumental in rescuing and caring for over 18,000 animals over the years. It’s a timely reminder of some of the very much unnoticed work that the company does and for which all animal lovers should be grateful.

Here’s some video of the events:

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