ORLANDO, Fla. — An effort to save Florida's coral reefs has lead to a major collaboration, with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, SeaWorld, Disney and others joining forces. 

What You Need To Know

  • SeaWorld and Disney are taking part in a new effort to save Florida's coral reefs

  • The Florida Coral Rescue Center has been established to help with the effort

  • The facility has more than 700 coral specimens and offspring in its care

  • AZA, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA are also in effort

​As part of the partnership — which also includes Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program — the Florida Coral Rescue Center has been established.

The facility is the largest of its kind in the United States dedicated to helping vulnerable coral species, Disney said in post on its official Disney Parks Blog.

For the past year a team comprised of conservationists and experts have been working out of the center to restore the reefs which have been ravaged by the rapid spread of stony coral tissue loss disease. The disease has put 22 coral species at risk of extinction.

“There’s a big problem for corals in the reef, down in The Keys, are in dire straits and when SeaWorld heard about that, they knew they had to react,” said Justin Zimmerman, of SeaWorld, in a video posted to Twitter.

The Florida Coral Rescue Center currently has about 745 coral specimen and their offspring in its care. The goal, according to SeaWorld, is to return healthy corals back to the Florida Keys.

“With the Florida coastline as home to Disney Cruise Line and part of our backyard, we want to do what we can to keep coral reefs vibrant and healthy,” wrote Dr. Mark Penning, VP of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks, in a blog post.


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