Marcia Thissell, Senior Animal Care Specialist

 
 
Marcia Thissell, Senior Animal Care Specialist

I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania where hockey, football, raking leaves, and ice fishing were important staples you were exposed to by age 2.  I loved all the outdoor activities that Lake Erie had to offer.  As a young girl I enjoyed my little bubble and had no idea of this bigger world out there until my parents took us (my three siblings and I) to an amusement park when I was 5 years old.  Our neighboring state of Ohio had this magnificent place called SeaWorld.  My parents told me later that I was mesmerized by jumping dolphins, colorful fishes, and waddling penguins.  But the only part I remember is watching the Shamu show and thinking how amazing and magical the ocean was.  This day at SeaWorld changed my life.

I stayed focused on the dream through childhood and visited SeaWorld many times.  After high school graduation, I moved to San Diego and obtained a job as an educator at SeaWorld.  Now, years later, I am a member of the SeaWorld animal team, caring for a variety of marine mammals.  I began this career assisting with SeaWorld’s Rescue program, which primarily rescues and cares for seals and sea lions.  To this day, giving these animals a second chance and returning them back into the wild after caring for them, is one of the most thrilling experiences in my career.  Then I spent several years training bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions.  Today I am fortunate to care for southern sea otters, young animals that were rescued as pups and needed a home.  As the sea otter team raises these pups and develops a new husbandry training program for them, I hope to use this blog as a behind-the-scenes look at this process.