SeaWorld will partner with Harvey on science and research projects that center around protecting sharks in the wild.
As part of the effort, SeaWorld said its new shark-themed roller coaster, Mako, will include a number of conservation-inspired exhibits for theme park guests who are waiting in line for the ride.
Harvey, the popular marine wildlife artist who launched a fish research institute, foundation and oceanographic center at Nova Southeastern University, will be featured in the interactive exhibits.
Mako will be Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.
The 200-foot-tall coaster, is expected to reach a top speed of 73 mph and will feature 4,760 feet of track, nearly a mile long. The coaster and surrounding area will be themed to a shark environment, providing a learning experience along with extreme thrills.
As part of Wednesday’s announcement, Seaworld said it plans to sell an exclusive line of Harvey’s paintings and apparel. SeaWorld said it will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale the items to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
“SeaWorld is committed to raising awareness of the plight of sharks in the wild and the oceans they live in. As part of our commitment that we made in March of this year, we will put meaningful dollars, research and man hours towards reducing this troubling trend,” Joel Manby, President and CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said. “The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey Research Institute have been front and center in this effort for years, and we are proud to open a new chapter in those efforts today.”
SeaWorld has faced criticism since the 2013 documentary, “Blackfish,” which raised questions about the park’s treatment of killer whales. The film was made in the wake of the 2010 death of SeaWorld whale trainer Dawn Brancheau.
SeaWorld said Wednesday that members of its animal care team recently joined a Guy Harvey Research Institute shark tagging expedition off the coast of Mexico, tagging six Mako sharks over the course of four days.
The tagged sharks will be followed by students and researchers at Guy Harvey’s Institute at Nova Southeastern University, and can be viewed by the public online at www.GHRItracking.org.