On the Friday before Thanksgiving – when many of us were thinking about family and food and a holiday weekend – a SeaWorld San Diego rescue team was thinking about something very different:
A humpback whale.
A 35-foot humpback whale that had become entangled in a 900-foot weighted fishing line off the coast of La Jolla, CA:
The SeaWorld team knew the whale was not able to swim freely and forage for food because of the line, and would have died if it had remained entangled.
The SeaWorld team also knew they were the only ones who could give a second chance at life to that whale.
A chance at life, so it would be free to do this:
And maybe this:
SeaWorld has gotten some of bad publicity, especially since the 2013 movie Blackfish. Its stock tanked in 2014, and again in 2017.
During all that, it was easy to lose track of the fact that SeaWorld as a company recently reached an impressive milestone:
36,000 animal rescues over the last 55 years.
SeaWorld San Diego alone has rescued more than 20,000 of those animals, which include sea lions, seals, dolphins, whales, turtles and birds. Their goal with every animal is to rescue, rehabilitate and return it to the wild for that second chance at life.
On November 22 the SeaWorld team was well-prepared for the humpback rescue. They have specific large-whale entanglement response training, and work under the authority of National Marine Fisheries Service, the government agency that oversees the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.
The team walked their walk:
And after four hours, freed the whale to keep doing this:
And definitely this:
Good news for the whale, for us, and for the planet.