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SeaWorld fund gives EagleWatch $15,000

Orlando Sentinel

Original Article »

April 19, 2007

Shamu and his companions at SeaWorld Orlando and other Busch Entertainment theme parks are raising money to care for Central Florida bald eagles, Indian tigers and Mexican wolves, among other creatures.

The EagleWatch program at the Audubon of Florida's Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland is one of 112 conservation efforts awarded money from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, in newly announced grants totaling $1.3 million for 2007.

EagleWatch, which is getting $15,000, cares for injured and displaced eagles throughout the eastern United States.

"It's been a very busy year, and we have received more than our share of babies, especially since we had to receive the ones out of the Sanford [airport] nests," program coordinator Lynda White said.

Other beneficiaries with Florida ties include the Hillsborough Education Foundation, Operation Migration and Sanctuary Friends of the Florida Keys. Worldwide, the fund made 108 other grants ranging from $2,100 to $29,750 from Canada to Indonesia.

The foundation is supported mostly by direct donations and proceeds from certain merchandise sales and wildlife-encounter programs at SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and other Busch locations.

Fund President Virginia M. Busch said the fund's popularity is expanding quickly. This year's record totals of grant money, applications and grants were all double or nearly double the 2006 records.

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