(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Sat 18 Mar 2023, 4:45 PM
Abu Dhabi's newly opened Yas SeaWorld Research and Rescue (YSWRR) is the region's first dedicated marine research and rescue centre with an amazing bunch of local and international experts.
In line with the UAE's declaration of 2023 as the 'Year of Sustainability', the centre will play a key role in conservation efforts in the region, leveraging nearly 60 years of experience in marine animal care and rescue by the US SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.
Khaleej Times caught up with the centre's leading lights, including the earliest members of upcoming SeaWorld Abu Dhabi to someone who acted in the film 'Jurassic World'. Dr Elise Marquis, director, YSWRR
Dr Marquis has more than 15 years of experience in marine research and consultancy around the world. Since June 2021, as the director of YSWRR, she implements the vision of the centre and coordinates its activities, related to the three main programmes: research and rescue, rehabilitation, and return and education.“I'm elated to be at the helm of this diverse and progressive team as we aim to protect marine life with the long-term goal of community engagement and fostering the next generation of marine scientists in this country and wider region,” said Dr Marquis, who is leading the research programme. Rob Yordi, general curator
With over 34 years at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Yordi has a wealth of experience in animal care and rescue, field research, wildlife conservation and marine life theme park industry. Part of the SeaWorld Abu Dhabi project since 2016, he provides his leadership and experiences to support the pre-opening team of the marine-life theme park and YSWRR.
“I'm probably one of the first team members of this project. From our aquaculture facilities and veterinary clinics to the rescue fleet of vessels, which will venture out into the Abu Dhabi mangroves and Arabian Gulf to save animals in need, it's an immense pleasure to play a leading role of this talented team.” Scott McCoy, senior zoological director
With over 20 years of zoological experience, Scott McCoy brings his expertise in animal care and rescue, habitat design and maintenance, and park management to SeaWorld Abu Dhabi and YSWRR, where he is a zoological director since May 2020. At SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, McCoy is responsible for managing a team of more than 100 animal care specialists, the animal ambassador team, in addition to leading the centre's rescue operations.“As the lead on all rescue operations with Yas SeaWorld Research and Rescue, it's a great honour to build on SeaWorld's legacy of rescuing over 40,000 animals since its inception in 1965.” Dr Elsburgh 'Tres' Clarke III, director, animal health and welfare
Dr Clarke joined SeaWorld Abu Dhabi and YSWRR in October 2020 bringing 20 years of veterinary experience. He contributes to the strategic planning, organisation, and implementation of the animal health and welfare department. His responsibilities include diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries, nutrition, preventative medicine and animal welfare programmes.
“Animals have always fascinated me, and from an early age I knew I'd be looking at a career caring for exotic animals. I'm proud that with my own hands – and some technology – I've saved thousands of animals and helped them back into our environment.”
Fun fact:“I even cared for an extinct animal, a velociraptor, in the movie 'Jurassic World',” he said about his small role as scientist Dr Ted Bowehim in 'Jurassic Park' series. Milton Rieback, educational director
A seasoned zoo professional, Rieback brings with him more than 25 years of experience in conservation and wildlife education management. Since March 2021 as education director, Rieback and his team of education professionals provide leadership and key resources across areas of zoological and conservation education for the centre and contribute to its curation of curricula and educational programmes.
“As a South African, a country synonymous with safari and diverse wildlife, I have always been passionate about animals. My love for animals extends to marine life, and having worked all around the world, my objective is to now focus on educating people on the rich marine life of the Arabian Gulf, protecting and conserving these animals and their ecosystems, and this will be our mission here.” Fatima 'Tony' Farah, educational instructor
Fatima A. Farah is an Emirati zoological education instructor who works closely with her team and scientists as they form new education department content, prepare and maintain education programme materials and coordinate curriculum development, manage colleagues' training, and marine science-related writing.
“I learned from our founding fathers that spreading education is a national duty, and that the educated are the best asset of any advanced nation. Therefore, as I step into my workplace every morning, I remind myself of why I'm here, and that is to learn, empower, inspire, and be part of marine science education.”
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