The Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center was established in February 2023 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, as the first and only facility in the MENA region dedicated to marine life conservation and animal rescue.

SeaWorld, with nearly six decades of experience in marine animal care, rescue, rehabilitation and conservation, has partnered with Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading curator of immersive destinations and experiences, creating this one-of-a-kind establishment.

The center aims to foster the preservation of marine wildlife, ecosystems and habitats in the Arabian Gulf. Additionally, it seeks to inspire public commitment to this cause and educate future generations of marine scientists and conservationists about the importance of aquatic life in the region.

The Center’s Three Focus Areas

At the Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center, the focus lies in three main pillars:

  • Research
  • Rescue, rehab and return
  • Education

Each of those elements supports the other, and together, they contribute to the center’s greater mission of securing a safer, healthier future for marine creatures in the MENA region.

1. Research

The Arabian Gulf is a diverse and ecologically rich marine environment, but it faces several challenges. Its semi-enclosed, shallow nature and arid climate create extreme conditions like high salinity and fluctuating temperatures. Additionally, there is a constant risk of human-caused pollution in the area, particularly from plastic waste.

All of these factors pose a significant threat to the survival of the marine communities and ecosystems in the region. With this in mind, the center, with the help of its team of marine zoologists, scientists and subject matter experts, decided to focus its research efforts on two key areas:

Understanding Gulf Marine Ecology

The center’s research team concentrates on studying the ecology of the Arabian Gulf by examining aspects, such as marine biodiversity, how ecosystems adapt to the unique environmental conditions in the Gulf and how sensitive species can be protected.

Restoring the Ecosystem

After assessing the state of the marine environment in the Gulf, the center, through its Ecosystem Restoration program, directs its efforts toward developing innovative techniques to reverse or hold off the degradation of vital habitats in the region.

This includes restoring critical ecosystems such as seagrass meadows, reefs, mangroves, and oyster beds, which serve as feeding and breeding grounds for many species.

Additionally, the center takes on aquaculture-based projects like fish propagation, seagrass cultivation, and coral reproduction to alleviate the pressure on wild fish populations in the Gulf.

Such exhaustive research wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center’s investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure.

The center’s research facilities include:

  • Three dry laboratories
  • A wet laboratory
  • A 345 m3 aquaculture facility that features live feed culture rooms as well as larvae culture and broodstock pools
  • A 12.5 m research vessel lined with the latest field equipment

2. Rescue, Rehab and Return

Part of the center’s marine life conservation mission is to afford every sick, injured, stranded or orphaned animal the chance to get the care they need and to be released back into their natural environment.


Since 1965, SeaWorld has rescued over 40,000 animals, and the Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center aims to continue this legacy by supporting marine creatures in need in the UAE and the broader region.

The center’s teams bring in decades of experience with SeaWorld in the U.S., and are on call 24/7 and 365 days a year to respond to any animal rescue cases. They also work closely with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and other local organizations to ensure speedy, effective response and treatment.



The Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center’s expert veterinarians continuously tend to the well-being of marine animals under their care.

From creating custom-fit prosthetics and administering round-the-clock treatments to healing cracked turtle shells and nursing orphaned newborns, they spare no effort to ensure the animals have a safe environment to recover and learn the skills they need to adapt to the wild.


Successfully rehabilitated animals are released back to their natural habitats. However, those not deemed fit to make it on their own get a forever home with the Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center or a specialized facility.

Again, the center owes its success in animal rescue and rehabilitation to a combination of skilled staff and top-of-the-line veterinary facilities, including:

  • A fleet of rescue vehicles with two tailor-made boats
  • A cutting-edge veterinary hospital equipped for emergency triage of animals in critical condition
  • Over 25 purpose-built rescue pools that are designed to accommodate animals of different sizes and species
  • An onsite lab that allows for in-house pathology analysis of wildlife

3. Education

The Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center recognizes that, to make a lasting, positive impact on the marine communities and ecosystems in the region, it is crucial to boost awareness and educate the public, particularly the younger generations, about the importance of conservation.

In that spirit, they have built facilities, such as interactive classrooms and a 180-seat auditorium, assembled a team of educators, and developed a series of educational programs and outreach initiatives. Some key highlights of these offerings include:

Learning Experiences

Learning Experiences

SeaWorld Yas Island is typically known to its visitors as a world-class attraction that offers close marine animal encounters, theme park rides and live shows. But that’s only one side of the coin.

Seaworld Yas Island partnered with the Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center to develop educational workshops and lectures to introduce marine sciences and wildlife to young people, including schools, youth camps and homeschool groups.

Citizen Science and Outreach

The Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center organizes various outreach programs to encourage everyone, regardless of age, to take part in conservation efforts. Some examples of these initiatives are beach cleanups and mangrove replanting projects.

Science Events

The center provides scientists, students, researchers and authors with a platform to exchange ideas and share their latest findings. By hosting events, seminars and science talks, it aims to promote and contribute to the betterment of marine life.

The Promise of a Sustainable Future for Marine Life

The Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Center is putting the UAE at the forefront of marine conservation in the MENA region.

Its innovative research, rescue and rehabilitation efforts and commitment to education offer hope for a sustainable future for the region’s marine environment and the creatures that call it home.

Liam O'Connor

With over 20 years of experience in landscape architecture, Liam O'Connor, a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, has been enriching our content with his knowledge since 2020. Before joining us, he ran a successful landscaping firm and served as a consultant for urban greening projects. Liam's passion for creating vibrant outdoor spaces is evident in his detailed guides and tips. In his leisure time, he enjoys mountain biking and photography, often capturing the landscapes he adores.

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