WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., today announced the creation of the Ocean Health Initiative, a new marine conservation program designed to protect and restore coastal and marine habitats across the country. SeaWorld has pledged $1.5 million over three years for the initiative.
The Ocean Health Initiative will fund projects through existing NFWF grant programs across a portfolio of conservation activities that support the health of threatened marine and coastal species and habitats. Key focal areas of the initiative will include conservation and protection of marine wildlife and coastal habitats of the Eastern Atlantic, along the Gulf of Mexico and key estuaries that feed into those bodies of water.
"Pollution, loss of habitat and impacts from overfishing continue to threaten many of the native species that inhabit our oceans, estuaries and coastal wetlands," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "SeaWorld's commitment to this new initiative will bolster conservation efforts across a portfolio of focal species and habitats that, together, represent a comprehensive approach to restoring the health of the oceans."
The Ocean Health Initiative is SeaWorld's second commitment to NFWF this year. Recognizing that ocean health is a leading concern for killer whales and all marine mammals in the wild, SeaWorld is embarking on this new partnership focused on protecting the ocean. The first Ocean Health Initiative grants are expected to be awarded this fall. SeaWorld's first partnership commitment to NFWF was a pledge of $1.5 million over three years through the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program (KWRCP).
"We're excited to again partner with an organization that has an outstanding reputation for conserving ocean species and habitats," said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "This new commitment to ocean health will continue the mission established by SeaWorld's founders more than 50 years ago, 'to return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it.'"
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company delivering personal, interactive and educational experiences that blend imagination with nature and enable its customers to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world we share. The Company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld®, Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50-year history, the Company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection of approximately 89,000 marine and terrestrial animals. The Company's theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The Company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The Company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 26,000 animals in need over the last 50 years. SeaWorld has pledged $10 million to fund research and conservation for killer whales in the wild – the largest commitment of its kind.
Copies of this and other news releases as well as additional information about SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. can be obtained online at www.seaworldentertainment.com. Shareholders and prospective investors can also register to automatically receive the Company's press releases, SEC filings and other notices by e-mail by registering at that website.
CONTACT: Rob Blumenthal, NFWF, 202-595-2457 Elizabeth Bassler, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, 407-226-5262
Source:National Fish and Wildlife Foundation