SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando Welcomes First Walrus Calf

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Kaboodle, a 14 year-old Walrus at SeaWorld Orlando, welcomed her first calf in early June. This is a first for the SeaWorld Orlando family, and they are justifiably excited!

According to SeaWorld’s animal care ambassadors, who kept a close watch on Kaboodle throughout her pregnancy, mom and calf immediately bonded and have been inseparable ever since.

Guests won’t be able to see Kaboodle and her calf, just yet. The adorable pair is currently under 24-hour care with their husbandry team to make sure than mom and calf are growing and thriving together.

Check with SeaWorld’s social channels and website for updates:

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Sea World Orlando Walrus_3Photo Credits: SeaWorld

The Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is a large flippered marine mammal with distribution about the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the only living species in the family Odobenidae and genus Odobenus. This species is subdivided into three subspecies: the Atlantic Walrus (O. r. rosmarus) which lives in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Walrus (O. r. divergens) which lives in the Pacific Ocean, and O. r. laptevi, which lives in the Laptev Sea of the Arctic Ocean.

Adult Walruses are recognized by their prominent tusks, whiskers, and bulkiness. Adult males in the Pacific can weigh more than 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) and are exceeded in size only by the two species of Elephant Seals.

Walruses live mostly in shallow waters above the continental shelves, spending significant amounts of their lives on the sea ice looking for benthic bivalve mollusks to eat. Walruses are relatively long-lived, social animals, and they are considered to be a "keystone species" in the Arctic marine regions.

Gestation lasts 15 to 16 months. The first three to four months are spent with the blastula in suspended development before it implants itself in the uterus. This strategy of delayed implantation, common among pinnipeds, presumably evolved to optimize both the mating season and the birthing season, determined by ecological conditions that promote newborn survival. Calves are born during the spring migration, from April to June. They weigh about 45 to 75 kg (99 to 165 lb) at birth and are able to swim.

Mothers nurse for over a year before weaning, but the young can spend up to five years with the mothers. Calves are born with robust whiskers, which help identify the shellfish they can eat. Because ovulation is suppressed until the calf is weaned, females give birth at most every two years, leaving the Walrus with the lowest reproductive rate of any pinniped.

Walruses live about 20-30 years in the wild.

While Walruses are not yet classified as a threatened species by the IUCN, they have been adversely affected by global climate change. That’s where SeaWorld Orlando has stepped in to help. With the permission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the park has been able to aid and care for orphaned Walrus calves.

Rescued Manatee Gives Birth at SeaWorld!


A pregnant Manatee rescued by SeaWorld’s Animal team in June has given birth to a healthy Manatee calf. Born early on Wednesday morning, between 3 and 6 a.m., the newborn calf has been nursing and bonding with mom in a back area pool. SeaWorld’s Animal Care team is on 24-hour watch keeping a close eye on the pair, who are both doing well.




Photo credit: SeaWorld Orlando


Read the story of the rescue and the birth below the fold.

Continue reading "Rescued Manatee Gives Birth at SeaWorld!" »

SeaWorld Rescues Stranded Newborn Dolphin

Dolphin Feeding

SeaWorld's animal rescue team traveled to Three Sisters Island in Florida yesterday afternoon to rescue a stranded newborn Bottlenose Dolphin. Weighing slightly less than 35 pounds, the male calf was found stranded in shallow waters under a mangrove. SeaWorld’s animal care experts believe the baby to be no more than five days old due to its size, the upright stature of its dorsal fin and the attached umbilical cord at the time of rescue. Preliminary tests have showed no major health issues but to ensure the young animal gets the essential nutrients he needs, SeaWorld’s animal team has been manually tube-feeding the baby every two hours.

Dolphin calves typically nurse from their mother until they are 12 to 18 months old. The youngster was probably separated from his mother before becoming stranded. The successful rescue was made possible by a collaborative effort: the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute initially checked on the state of the young calf, and SeaWorld was able to rescue it shortly after – following authorization by NOAA Fisheries Service. SeaWorld's animal rescue team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. This is the first Bottlenose Dolphin to be rescued this year.

Pedro Holding DolphinPhoto and video credits: Nick Gollattscheck / SeaWorld.

Baby Bird or Baby Dinosaur? Meet a Red-legged Seriema Chick!

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The Red-legged Seriema is one of South America's largest terrestrial birds. While it can fly short distances, it prefers to run on its long, powerful legs rather than use its short, stumpy wings. This two week old chick was hatched at SeaWorld Orlando on April 30. The current Seriema population in U.S. zoos is only 62, and the last bird was hatched in 2009, so each hatchling is precious to the population.

SeaWorld Orlando's resident bird expert, Sherry Rodriguez, has been hand-raising the chick and it’s doing very well (see photo at bottom). This is a huge commitment -- she takes it home every night for round-the-clock feedings and even uses a feather duster in its brooder (incubator) to simulate the mother bird’s feathers.

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The central habitat of the Red-legged Seriema is in the grassy, savanna-like cerrados of central Brazil. The species is also found farther south in the grasslands and woodland subtropical areas in southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The diet of the Seriema is largely animal food, specifically insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders but they also enjoy small invertebrates such as lizards, frogs and snakes. Fruits, seeds and leaves are also consumed but are a very small percentage of their diet.

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Photo credits: Jason Collier | Photographer, SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando Now Caring for Orphaned Sandhill Crane Chick


SeaWorld Orlando’s Aviculture team recently received the first sandhill crane chick of the year -- an orphan, brought in by a concerned resident from St. Cloud, Fla.

Once SeaWorld’s veterinarians thoroughly examined the bird, it was determined to be in perfect health. However, at an estimated 3-4 days old at the time it was brought into SeaWorld’s care, it was simply too young to survive on its own. The chick was then paired with a rescued adult crane, in order to learn the specific crane behaviors essential for life in the wild.



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Photo credit: SeaWorld Orlando

While sometimes difficult for orphaned chicks to be tolerated by older cranes that are not familiar with them, the adult crane accepted the orphaned chick, which is now thriving. Eric Reece, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Aviculture, adds, “The chick is doing fantastic. It’s eating on its own and gaining weight”.

It is the intent of SeaWorld’s Aviculture team to return both cranes to their natural habitat together once the chick has fledged, or grown the feathers necessary for flying.

SeaWorld's animal rescue team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. So far in 2012, SeaWorld Orlando has taken in 11 rescued cranes.

SeaWorld Orlando Rescues Two Month Old Turtle Hatchlings


The animal rescue team at SeaWorld Orlando received two Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings earlier this week.  They are approximately two months old.
The first was found at Melbourne Beach by a tourist and was delivered to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society in Melbourne Beach, Fla. It weighs only 2 ounces and is nearly 3 inches long. The hatchling was lethargic and weak when it arrived. The second was found in Cocoa Beach, covered with algae and fauna, and also brought to the Society weighing 2.5 ounces and measuring just over 3 inches long. Both were taken to SeaWorld for examination and continued care, including, feeding, giving fluids and around-the-clock observation and monitoring.  

It’s a tough journey ahead but both turtles are looking better and are showing positive signs. Hawksbill turtles are endangered due to human exploitation and habitat degradation.    


Photo Credit: SeaWorld Orlando 

Read more after the jump:

Continue reading "SeaWorld Orlando Rescues Two Month Old Turtle Hatchlings" »

Ariel the Dolphin and Her New Calf Frolic!

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In late July, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed a newborn Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin calf to mother Ariel. Mother and calf have been seen nursing and playing, indicating they are bonding well. To ensure mother and calf have some privacy and nuturing support, the pair are currently being kept in the Dolphin Nursery, which they share only with other pregnant dolphins and new mothers with calves.

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Dolphin Mom Arial and Calf - SeaWorld4Photo credits: SeaWorld Orlando

Baby Killer Whale Born at SeaWorld Orlando

Katina, a 34-year-old killer whale, gave birth Saturday, October 9, at 7:28 p.m. in SeaWorld Orlando’s multimillion-gallon Shamu Stadium following a 45-minute labor. Moments later, the baby whale instinctively swam to the surface for its first breath. This is the seventh calf born to Katina, an 18-foot-long, 5,400-pound killer whale. “It’s a terrific day for all of us at SeaWorld,” said Kelly Flaherty-Clark, curator of animal training.  “Katina is an experienced mom and she appears to be bonding quickly with her baby.”

Katina, bottom, and her new calf swim at Shamu Stadium.  The calf was born on oct 9_D

Killer whale birth at SeaWorld Orlando October 9 2010 Katina is mom baby whale is seen exhaling resized

Katina, left, and her new calf swim at Shamu Stadium

Katina, left, and her new calf swim at Shamu Stadium

Katina, bottom, and her new calf swim at Shamu Stadium.  The calf was born on oct 9_D

Killer whale birth at SeaWorld Orlando October 9 2010 Katina is mom BPhotos taken by Chris Gotshall for SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld veterinarians and trainers remain cautiously optimistic about the progress of the baby and her mother and are encouraged by the bonding they’ve already seen. This calf is the 27th killer whale born at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla., San Diego, Calif. and San Antonio, Texas.  Sixteen whales have been born at SeaWorld Orlando. SeaWorld's killer whale breeding program is the most successful in the world.

SeaWorld Cares for Orphaned Baby Manatee

SeaWorld Orlando animal care specialists are a little bleary-eyed this week as they provide 24-hour care for a weeks-old, baby manatee. Orphaned by her mother, the female calf arrived at the park's rehabilitation center on July 24 after being rescued from the waters of Daytona Beach, Fla.

Every three hours the 3½-foot and 41-pound orphan is bottled-fed with the park's nutrient-rich baby formula that promotes weight gain. Her weight is taken every other day as animal care specialists closely monitor her progress. She remains in guarded condition and park veterinarians hope to eventually return her back to the wild.

Baby manatee orphan SeaWorld

Photo and video credits: SeaWorld Orlando

The animal was transported to SeaWorld by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.