We care for 29 killer whales, the largest killer whale population in a zoological facility worldwide. They are our family.
We are a global leader in the care and understanding of this species and are accredited by the world’s foremost professional zoological organizations. We apply best practices in behavioral training, environmental enrichment, preventive health, veterinary medicine and facilities design and management. As with all animals at SeaWorld, the whales live in safe, sophisticated habitats, receive world-class medical care and are continually engaged socially, mentally and physically.
These animals are healthy and well adapted to their surroundings, a fact that is evident to our zoological experts through their constant interaction and observation 24 hours per day.
Top 5 facts to know about SeaWorld’s killer whale care:
- We do not capture killer whales in the wild. Due to our groundbreaking reproduction research and program, we haven’t collected a killer whale from the wild in 35 years.
- Our killer whales’ life spans are equivalent with whales in the wild.
- We recognize the importance of social structure and keep dependent killer whale calves with their mothers.
- The killer whales in our facilities benefit whales in the wild. We provide scientists with access, research and data that would be difficult or impossible to get in the wild.
- We invest millions of dollars in the care of our whales. Our habitats are among the largest in the world today and allow for the highest and safest standards of care. We also recently announced our vision for the creation of future whale habitats.
The quality of care we provide these animals is further evidenced through the stringent accreditation process of two of the foremost professional zoological organizations to which we belong: The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA). AZA accredited zoos and aquariums undergo a rigorous review that includes a detailed accreditation application as well as a multiple day on-site inspection by a team of experts from around the country. Fewer than 10% of the animal exhibitors in the US are AZA accredited. The AMMPA requires similar application and on-site review processes for accreditation.