Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and important ecosystems on the planet. They provide habitat for a wide variety of marine species, protect shorelines from erosion, and support a thriving tourism industry. However, coral reefs are under threat from a number of factors, including rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, and disease. One of the most serious diseases affecting coral reefs today is stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD).
SCTLD is a relatively new disease that first appeared in Florida in 2014. It has since spread rapidly and has caused significant damage to Florida’s Coral Reef. Large areas of the reef have been affected, leading to the loss of habitat for many species of fish and other marine organisms. The loss of coral also has a negative impact on the tourism industry, as reefs that are affected by the disease are less attractive to visitors.
In response, a diverse group of government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations has banded together to save the future of Florida’s Coral Reef. One example of this effort is the Orlando-based Florida Coral Rescue Center (FCRC). This state-of-the-art facility was established for the gene banking and care of Florida corals rescued from reefs not yet affected by SCTLD. Under the guidance of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the group includes SeaWorld, Disney Conservation Fund, and our Foundation. These partners provide the funding, resources, and expertise to help ensure there is a future for the descendants of the corals at FCRC.
The work being done at the FCRC is the first of its kind and absolutely crucial if Florida’s Coral Reef is to survive, which is why it’s being featured in a new series, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild.
The series highlights the efforts of conservationists, scientists, and organizations around the world who are working to protect endangered species and their habitats. Each episode takes viewers on a journey to some of the most remote and wild places on the planet, showcasing the incredible work being done to preserve biodiversity and ensure the survival of some of the world’s most iconic species. With breathtaking visuals and engaging storytelling, it provides a unique window into the efforts being made to protect the planet’s wildlife and their habitats. Join us online on Sunday February 5th at 8:30 p.m. EST for the episode premiere!
Our Foundation supports the FCRC through our Coral Reef Fund. In addition, the Coral Reef Fund supports research, monitoring, and management efforts. This work would not be possible without the help of our partners like the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, Green Pineapple Boutique, and Islander Resort. Learn more about our Coral Reef Fund here.