As of Today, SeaWorld has said that it will stop the breeding of its captive Killer Whales. The amusement park has come under heavy criticism in the past couple years, ever since the release of the documentary, Blackfish, that highlighted the treatment of the captive Killer Whales and of the death of Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau.
The decision came from an agreement and partnership made between SeaWorld and The Humane Society. The announcement came from SeaWorld’s Website where it details that, “…the killer whales – or orcas – currently in the company’s care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld. The company will end all orca breeding as of today.”
SeaWorld has stated that it is moving away from having the Orcas as entertainment and is moving towards having them be part of a new educational program.
“We will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals… We are committing to educating the 20 million visitors who come to our parks every year on how they can take action to help these animals in the wild.” read from SeaWorld’s announcement.
Not only has SeaWorld announced an end to breeding in its San Diego park, but also in its San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando locations. The move seems to signify a bold change in SeaWorld’s business model, seeing as the company has seen a decline in attendance and its stock has dropped by more than half of its original worth.
SeaWorld has to compete with other theme venues such as the Walt Disney Parks and Universal Studios Theme Parks, and seeing as watching captive animals leap out their small tanks has fallen out of favor, the company has said that it also several new roller coaster rides in development along side the new educational use of the Orcas.
Listen to the story via NPR in the audio below: