SWBG: Conservation Fund Grant

SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund

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Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $100,000

Next deadline: Apr 30, 2019

Later deadlines: Nov 30, 2019

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary


Passionate. Dedicated. Committed.

For over 50 years, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment which includes the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove parks, have been leaders in wildlife conservation, research and conservation education. The parks provide a unique environment to connect with animals and inspire audiences to help protect the natural spaces we all depend on, and the dedicated zoological professionals that work at the parks dedicate their expertise to assisting animals in the wild. The people we encounter every day at our parks are often inspired to take action, and the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation fund was, in part, created to provide a way that people can help make a difference.

Our Drive

The Fund was established as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit private foundation in 2003, and initially provided resources for a wide variety of conservation programs worldwide that aligned with four key areas: animal rescue and rehabilitation, conservation education, habitat protection, and species research. Over the last decade, the Fund has continued to support these areas of focus, but has also developed specific conservation priorities within these areas.

Since its creation, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has awarded over $11 million in conservation grants to over 800 organizations. Currently, the Fund provides over $1 million each year to conservation programs, and thanks to SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment's administrative support, 100% of the funding we raise (EVERY SINGLE PENNY) goes toward these conservation projects.

What We Fund

The Fund has 4 major areas of focus

  • species research
  • habitat protection
  • conservation education
  • animal rescue and rehabilitation.

Conservation Priorities

Species Research

  • Marine Fish Sustainability
    • Research that contributes to the ability to create sustainable populations of marine fishes through aquaculture, with great emphasis on the most popular marine fishes in home hobbyist and commercial aquariums. Research can focus on fish lifecycles, nutrition, reproduction and aquaculture techniques. 
  • African Mammals 
    • Research focused on ecology and conservation; specifically distribution, ranges, corridor mapping and threats. Research focused on physiology, disease/mortality, longevity, distribution and other measures of population health in African mammals. 
  • Marine Mammals 
    • Research on the ecology, behavior, distribution, reproduction, physiology and population health of marine mammals. 
  • Penguins and Alcids 
    • Research on the conservation, behavior, distribution, reproduction, longevity, mortality, physiology and population health of penguins and alcids. Research also can include diet studies, disease detection, prevention and treatment, and testing of new data collection technologies. 
  • Sharks
    • Research on the conservation, ecology, behavior, distribution, reproduction, physiology and population health of sharks.
  • Reintroduction
    • Research that provides data and recommendations on the best practices for reintroduction of rescued and/or rehabilitated mammals into the wild.

Animal Rescue/Rehab

  • Wildlife Trade and Anti-Poaching
    • Programs designed to reduce wildlife trafficking and enforce wildlife trade laws, with specific emphasis on programs reducing illegal trade of endangered species products. Efforts to reduce poaching of endangered and threatened species. Particular interest in programs focused on reducing trafficking of rhinoceros, shark, parrot, pangolin, elephant or big cat products. 
  • Elephants 
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate African or Asian elephants. 
  • Sea Turtles 
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate North, Central or South American sea turtles (including nest protection). 
  • Penguins 
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate penguins. 
  • Marine Mammals 
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate marine mammals.
  • Rhinoceros 
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate African rhinoceros. 
  • Wolves
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate North American wolves. 
  • Great Apes
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate Great Apes.
  • Xenathrans
    • Programs designed to protect, rescue or rehabilitate anteaters, sloth and armadillos.
  • Native Wildlife Near SEA Parks 
    • Native wildlife rescue programs located in Florida, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, or Virginia. Proposals that focus on prevention education, operational sustainability, supplies and dietary needs are most successful. 

Conservation Education

  • Nature Deficit Disorder
    • Programs designed to encourage youth to spend more time outdoors connecting with nature. This includes education programs for youth who live in biodiverse range countries to understand the value of nature and the mechanisms for sustainability. 
  • Leadership Development
    • Programs designed to identify potential conservation leaders and develop their leadership skills and knowledge base. Specifically, these programs can target young adults and offer peer connections within the conservation community to further develop the next generation of conservation leaders. 
  • Alternative Income
    • Programs designed to retrain or develop viable alternative employment opportunities for people and communities reliant upon economic opportunities that directly impact wildlife and habitat. Programs can include training and support to provide alternatives to poaching, livestock farming, or logging. 

Habitat Protection

  • Coral Reef
    • Support for the creation, restoration and maintenance of marine protected areas along coral reefs located in North, Central and South America. Successful proposals can include research necessary to implement marine protected areas, populations studies of reef species, and restoration efforts to reverse the impacts of man-made and natural impacts to the reef
  • Marine/Aquatic Debris
    • Efforts to remove marine and aquatic debris from waterways, estuaries, coasts and underwater. Includes efforts to identify sources of pollution and physically remove debris. 
  • Habitat Restoration
    • Projects providing important large scale habitat enhancements such as corridor mapping, and creation and protection of habitat for endangered species limited by range restrictions are considered. 
  • Freshwater Ecosystems
    • Projects focused on restoration, preservation, and protection of Florida-based freshwater ecosystems, with specific focus on the Florida Everglades. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The project must perfectly align with one of the Conservation Fund’s priorities listed under ‘Overview’.
  • The fund supports projects around the world.
  • The Fund accepts online applications from 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations based in the U.S., non-U.S. based non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations, governmental entities, accredited universities and research centers, and AZA- or AMMPA-accredited institutions.


  • Preference is given to projects using applied research toward specific wildlife conservation outcomes/goals.


  • The fund does not financially support student work--while the Fund acknowledges that university/college students working on projects as part of a degree (e.g., thesis research) contribute significantly to baseline data, grantmaking preference is given to projects using applied research toward specific wildlife conservation outcomes/goals.