Wild Days is an annual tradition at SeaWorld San Antonio. Traditionally running in February, it was moved this year to spring to expose a greater population to the ideals of the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. The celebration details the incredible work wildlife organizations do to save animals and inspire the public. With an African theme, it leaves the watery world of SeaWorld behind, and explores new realms, from the savanna, to the arctic, to even the sky!

The first weekend portrayed a revised version of the show SeaWorld Live! Hosted by former Animal Ambassador member/current dolphin trainer Clay Carabajal, the SeaWorld Animal Ambassador team joined with partner Zoomagination to educate the public about a variety of endangered and threatened species that need our help if they are to survive.

The show started off with Zoomagination’s two-toed sloth, as well as a kinkajou, both jungle roaming animals. A lucky guest was chosen prior to the show to come on stage and meet both these animals. The face they make truly demonstrates the need for zoos and aquariums, as passion comes from interacting with something real and amazing

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SeaWorld later brought in Susie, an umbrella cockatoo as well as a hyacinth macaw, both of whom used to be former pets but were surrendered after the owners could not properly care for them. Their stories illustrate how important it is for one to do research on pets they are getting, their lifespan, their dietary needs, and their mental needs. It is imperative to be able to meet these needs, because not every animal is as lucky as Susie.

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SeaWorld also credited research that has been going on to help rescue and understand animals out in their natural environments. Through a video, we met Zip, a bottlenose dolphin calf that stranded and was rescued by the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He was deemed non-releasable and now has a forever home at SeaWorld SA. In addition, researchers from Project Puffin, an organization dedicated to the returning of puffins to Maine, and Polar bear researchers gave special talks about their discoveries and experiences. Although SeaWorld SA does not have a polar bear or a puffin trained for human interaction, Zoomagination did bring an animal from the arctic. It was the first presentation of their reindeer!

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Clay Carabajal spiced up the show by choosing more audience members to play a game called “Name That Animal!” An audience member was blindfolded, was presented with an animal to touch, and they had to… name that animal. Guests were introduced to Marsha, the American alligator, a warthog owned by Zoomagination, Jerry the Florida King snake, and several species of shark!

The show emphasized the idea that to care for something, you need to understand it. Through real life interactions with these incredible species, we produced another generation of wildlife lovers and defenders, each with their own passion to conserve and protect. And isn’t this the heart of what zoos are, what they do for the public? To inspire, act, and care? To educate and defend?

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