UPDATE: SeaWorld To End Killer Whale Shows in San Diego
SeaWorld will end its killer whale shows next year in San Diego and revamp its brand as a place for animal rescue.
The company announced the plans Monday as it unveiled a new strategy emphasizing animal conservation at all its parks, including in Orlando.
The strategy is aimed at showcasing SeaWorld’s animal research and rescue efforts. It is a response to continued backlash that has challenged attendance and revenue.
SeaWorld President and Chief Executive Officer Joel Manby says theatrical performances of killer whales in San Diego will be replaced. He did not say whether the shows will end in Orlando.
“In 2017 we will launch an all new orca experience. It’s going to be focused more on the natural setting, the natural environment and also the natural behavior of the whale. And it will have a strong conservation message.”
Manby also announced a rethinking of expansion plans in San Diego. A California agency had decided to ban captive breeding of killer whales as a condition of its approval of the expansion.
SeaWorld has been under fire since an orca killed a trainer in Orlando in 2010 and the documentary “Blackfish” suggested the animal’s treatment contributed to her death.
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