Sea World Orlando is known for more than just shows, when it comes to animal welfare and conservation efforts. Recently, they had two fantastic landmark events occur. April 2010 saw the hatching of Tawny Frogmouth chicks -- six in total have hatched this year and all the babies are thriving. Tawny frogmouths had been nearing extinction, even in carefully-monitored zoo environments. Breeding programs were not as successful as had originally been hoped. Sea World decided to work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in order to create a program to sustain populations and encourage breeding. The program has been a success - in the past decade, Sea World has welcomed 24 chicks. The babies were initially hand-fed by trained aviculturists in order to make sure nothing went wrong but thanks to the program and the efforts of researchers, the newest chick was able to be raised by its parents -- check out the pic!
Sea World conservation efforts happen in the water, too. This past May, they rescued their 303rd sea turtle, a massive 270-lb male loggerhead. The turtle had been seen floating on his side for several days before Sea World aquarists got him to the rehabilitation center. He was emaciated and covered in barnacles; it has been assumed that his condition was caused by ingesting a foreign object. The big male was cleaned, treated with antibiotics, and checked with x-rays in case of internal injury. The Rehab Center is happy to report he eventually started eating on his own. They hope to release him back into the waters of the San Carlos Bay near Ft. Myers, FL, soon.