HONOLULU (KHON2) — When you hear Sea Life Park, you may tend to think of ocean animals, but their efforts here expand beyond the sea. 

Born out of a community effort in the early 1970s, Sea Life Park’s Seabird Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Facility have been caring for seabirds and educating the public about them for decades. 

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Recently, they have had some enhancements in their infrastructure and updated their resources.

To find out more, KHON2 met with Valerie Langland who is the Marine Mammal Trainer at Sea Life Park.

KHON2 asked Langland: What is the history of the conservation efforts here at Sea Life Park?

“Our Seabird Sanctuary here and also our rehab facility developed in the 1970s,” said Langland. “And though we don’t have the exact numbers of how many birds we’ve rescued since then, we do know that since 2005, we have recused over 4,000 birds that we were able to release.”

“So, our conservation efforts here strive to take in any sick or injured seabird from the wild and rehabilitate them whenever possible and release them back out into the wild,” explained Langland.  “And if they are deemed non-releasable, then they are able to come and live their forever home in our sanctuary here.”

KHON2 also asked: What types of Seabirds do you work with and even injuries, what kind of injuries are you coming across?

“There are 22 different species of native seabirds here in Hawaii and we do take in all of those species,” said Langland.

“A lot of those injuries that they get are wing deformities or broken wings as well as beak deformities.  And a lot of those injuries are caused by cats or mongoose, but sadly there is a lot of human interaction as well,” Langland added. “They do get a lot of their injuries from marine debris, things like fishing lines, hooks, nets, as well as they do run into power lines and occasionally get hit by cars.”

The KHON2 crew also asked what should people do when they are driving down the street or walking at the beach and come across an injured bird, what would be then the best practice for us to do to help that bird?

“If that bird is injured, it is best to call up the Hawaiian Humane Society or the Feather and Fur Animal Hospital, and they can help to rehabilitate that bird,” said Langland. “Here at Sea Life Park, our rehab facility is currently paused as we are remodeling our facility to make it better.  As soon as our facility is reopened, we will be able to take in those seabirds as well.”

Did you know that it is estimated that some 95% of all seabirds around Hawaii have some type of plastic in their stomach? 

The education provided here at Sea Life Park provides you the opportunity to become part of the solution rather than the problem.

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So, to plan your trip and how you can contribute to the conservation efforts at Sea Life Park, click here.