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seaworld san diego


The SeaWorld theme park in California has decided to phase out controversial public displays by killer whales, CEO Joel Manby has said.

Joel Manby announced that 2017 will be the last year of the show in San Diego.

He said that the move was part of a strategy that seeks to reverse falling visitor numbers at the company’s 11 parks across the US.

SeaWorld has faced intense criticism by activists who say keeping the orcas in captivity is cruel and unnecessary.

Its shares have halved in value since the release of a critical documentary film two years ago.

Dramatic displays by orcas are the centerpiece at three parks operated by SeaWorld, in California, Florida and Texas.

The San Diego park is the company’s second biggest and features its famous Shamu killer whale show.

Photo SeaWorld

Photo SeaWorld

The parks have long been criticized by animal rights activists and some politicians, who argue that keeping the mammals – also known as orcas – in captivity is cruel and unnecessary.

Last month, Californian authorities prohibited SeaWorld from breeding animals in captivity, calling into question the future of the park’s popular killer whale attraction.

The San Diego show will reportedly be replaced with a new orca experience in a “more natural” setting but it is not clear what exactly that will involve.

SeaWorld’s popularity was damaged and attendance fell at its parks – especially in California – following the critically-acclaimed 2013 documentary Blackfish, which highlighted the impact of captivity on orcas.

The company has dismissed the documentary as inaccurate and misleading, pointing out that it has not captured a whale in the wild for 35 years.

SeaWorld has since sought to improve its fortunes with a fresh marketing campaign and discount offers.


SeaWorld has announced it is planning to challenge a ruling banning the company from breeding captive killer whales.

The announcement comes a week after the California Coastal Commission backed a $100 million expansion of SeaWorld’s orca tanks in San Diego.

However, the enclosure improvements also outlined a series of restrictions, including a ban on breeding the whales.

SeaWorld said it would “pursue legal action” over the ruling.

Company President Joel Manby said: “The Coastal Commission went way beyond its jurisdiction and authority when it banned breeding by killer whales at SeaWorld.

“It simply defies common sense that a straightforward land-use permit approval would turn into a ban on animal husbandry practices – an area in which the Commissioners have no education, training or expertise.

“To say that this is a dubious decision with no legal basis is an understatement, which is why we must and will challenge the Commission’s decision.”SeaWorld orca breeding ban

SeaWorld has come under criticism since the release of 2013 documentary Blackfish, which suggests its treatment of captive orcas provokes violent behavior. The company’s stock price also has dropped over the past two years.

The company has called the documentary “false and misleading”.

Several celebrities have recently suggested they’re not happy with SeaWorld’s treatment of its animals.

Noaki Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the commission said it received more than 120,000 emails about the SeaWorld proposed expansion, mostly from people opposing the plans.

The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said the Coastal Commission hadn’t overstepped the mark with the ruling and that “SeaWorld is blowing smoke”.

SeaWorld, which plans to build two new tanks for viewing and research, said breeding is “a natural, fundamental and important part of an animal’s life and depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane”.

The commission said it had not seen a legal complaint and could not comment.


The California Coastal Commission has approved a $100 million killer whale habitat expansion at SeaWorld in San Diego, but banned breeding of the captive orcas that would live in the new tanks.

The ruling came after a request by the San Diego aquarium to build new tanks for its orcas.

In a statement SeaWorld said it was “disappointed” with October 8 ruling.

SeaWorld plans to build two additional tanks for viewing and research.

“Breeding is a natural, fundamental and important part of an animal’s life and depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane,” said SeaWorld San Diego Park President John Reilly.SeaWorld San Diego killer whale habitat expansion

The building project was approved “under a condition that would prohibit captive breeding, artificial insemination, and the sale, trade or transfer of any animal in captivity.”

The commission received more than 120,000 emails from people about the proposed expansion, mostly from those opposing the project, said commission spokeswoman Noaki Schwartz.

The ruling affects SeaWorld’s San Diego business, but not its locations in Florida or Texas.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) praised the ruling, saying this would effectively end the orca whale exhibit.

In a statement they said that it “ensures that no more orcas will be condemned to a nonlife of loneliness, deprivation and misery.”

SeaWorld has come under heavy criticism in recently years, particularly after the 2013 release of the documentary Blackfish which specifically criticized the company’s orca program.

Blackfish claims that whales in captivity become bored in their sterile environment which makes them aggressive towards their human trainers.

SeaWorld has called the film “false and misleading”.

Numerous celebrities have condemned SeaWorld’s treatment of its captive animals in the past years.

In August 2015, SeaWorld Entertainment reported an 84% drop in earnings in Q2 of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, and a 2% drop in visitor numbers.