SeaWorld Rescue is creating a marine research and rescue center in Abu Dhabi, the company said Wednesday. Photo by H. Ruckemann/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 8 (UPI) -- SeaWorld Rescue is opening a new center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The center will be the first dedicated marine research and rescue center in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to a press release from SeaWorld Wednesday.
The YasSeaWorld Research and Rescue center will be located on Yas island, which is under the jurisdiction of the Abu Dhabi Arab Emirate. The center is being created in collaboration with Miral, a government-backed company that helps create tourism destinations, including water parks, in Abu Dhabi.
"This is a cornerstone in the emirate's journey of education and conservation, inspiring the next generation of marine scientists to learn more about Abu Dhabi's impactful long-term vision of protecting our marine wildlife and their habitats," said Miral chairman Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak.
"Together with SeaWorld, we will be pushing the limits of science and conservation to become the foremost knowledge hub for marine scientists, not only in the UAE but also in the wider region," Al Mubarak continued.
SeaWorld has come under fire for poor treatment of marine mammals in captivity at their theme parks following the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which documented the life of a captive Orca named Tilikum.
In 2010 Tilikum killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, during a show at SeaWorld in Orlando. SeaWorld decided to stop breeding captive Orcas after public outcry and in 2017 the last Orca to be bred at SeaWorld was born.
The documentary severely damaged SeaWorld's reputation and attendance dropped in the following years. In 2020, SeaWorld agreed to pay $65 million to settle claims that the company had mislead investors regarding the impact of the film.