First thing this morning (March 17, 2016), SeaWorld announced that it will end its Orca breeding program effective immediately. According to their website SeaWorldCares.com, SeaWorld has not taken an orca from the wild in almost 40 years and the majority that are currently at SeaWorld Parks have been born “under human care.” This means that these orcas have never been in the wild and would not survive if released. With this in mind, SeaWorld plans to continue caring for the orcas at the SeaWorld Parks and will continue to help entertain and educate guests each year.
“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “We’ve helped make orcas among the most beloved marine mammals on the planet. As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will experience these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”
It was also announced that the Orca shows that we know will become a thing of the past as SeaWorld continues reinventing its parks. SeaWorld Parks will change the orca habitats to a more natural feel and the shows will focus more on educating guests on this magnificent animal.
“No longer a theatrical show, these programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise and overall health. Our existing show pools and viewing areas will be redesigned into a more naturalistic setting and we will continue to present the whales at scheduled times before a guest audience.” ~SeaWorldCares.com
Guests will start to see these changes next year at SeaWorld San Diego, after that will be San Antonio and Orlando in 2019.
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