Its official: The current generation of orcas at SeaWorld will be itslast.
Today,SeaWorld announced it will be ending its orca breeding programwith immediate effect. This means that no new orcas will enter the gates of SeaWorld, although the whales thatare currently in theirfacilities will continue to live there. They also reaffirmed that they will not “collect” orcas from the wild for use in their exhibitions,a practice they havent carried out for 40 years.
SeaWorldhas been prohibited to breed captive orcas in California since a ruling in October 2015. However, this law didnot account for the 18orcasthatSeaWorldown outside of itspark in San Diego, California.
This latest move follows itsdecision in November last year to phase out live orca shows.
In anonline statement, the company also announced its partnership with animal conservation group the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Through this collaboration, SeaWorldsays it hopes to move towards an education-focused experience in itstheme parks and will continue to move away from live theatrical shows.
“As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it,”said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment.”By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”
SeaWorld, whoown12 theme parks across the United States, has come under massive public scrutiny following the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish.” The film brought to light numerous ethical concerns of holding orcas in captivity, and questioned the corporate responsibility of SeaWorld. In the wake of the film, SeaWorldreportedlysuffered an 84 percent fall in profits in 2015.
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