SeaWorld publishes decades of orca data to help wild whales

SEATTLE (AP) — The theme-park company SeaWorld has published new data from its captive killer whales — information that scientists say could help inform how they go about trying to save sick or stranded orcas in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.

SeaWorld’s data comes from thousands of regular blood tests performed on 32 healthy whales over a span of two decades and helps establish a standard range for values such as cholesterol, platelet count and triglycerides.

Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer at the National Marine Fisheries Service, says it’s impossible to conduct such a study on free-swimming whales, and that SeaWorld’s data gives scientists a robust baseline “that we haven’t had previously.”

SeaWorld has 20 killer whales at its parks in San Diego; Orlando, Florida; and San Antonio, Texas.