SeaWorld makes conservation charity pledge

Theme park giant SeaWorld is to make donations to conservation charities from the UK sale of special ‘extras’ tickets to its parks in Florida.

The company’s treatment of killer whales has been highlighted in the wake of a 2013 film, Blackfish, which criticised SeaWorld.

Former chief executive Jim Atchison resigned in December ahead of a cost-cutting restructuring planned for this year.

The company revealed today (Friday) that SeaWorld Parks Extras tickets are to be offered for sale in the UK, including additional in-park dining packages and quick queue tickets.

For every in-park experience booked at the company’s Florida parks – including SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa and Discovery Cove – $2 will be donated to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund which will then go to UK conservation charities.

Clients must purchase park tickets before booking SeaWorld Parks Extras.

The donations will help raise additional funds for wildlife via the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, which has raised more $11 million over 11 years.

SeaWorld said the money raised will go directly to charity as the company pays all administrative costs.

The fund has supported 800 wildlife conservation projects across the globe since it was established in 2003, from tracking the migration of penguins in the Antarctica peninsula to funding anti-poaching technology to protect rhinos in South Africa.

It has also supported worldwide initiatives led by UK organisations including the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

 UK and Ireland sales and marketing director Dave Ody said: “Our ‘Fun 2 Fund’ initiative will allow UK guests to feel closer to the work we do through our SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, as donations from experiences booked will directly contribute to the work carried out by charities to protect wildlife at home or abroad.

“Pre-booking these SeaWorld Parks Extras means that holidaymakers also get more out of their holiday and from their time spent at the parks.

“We really want agents and our trade partners to get excited about the new initiative and to get behind it as the more SeaWorld Parks Extras sold, the more money is donated to worthwhile causes.”

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