Seaworld Brings its Captive Orca Breeding Program to a Halt
SeaWorld theme park recently made a major announcement on their company blog, concerning their Orca Breeding Program. “The whales in our facility will be the last generation at the SeaWorld California.” The theme park worked with former competitors such as the Humane Society of the United States in the development of new policies and for future partnerships as well. The blog further mentioned that by putting a stop to captive breeding, SeaWorld is angling towards an efficient future that includes no orcas. According to the Seaworld president and CEO, Joel Manby, “ before the start of our breeding program, no one even liked orcas, we have in essence converted orcas into one of the most adored forms of marine life currently on the planet.”
In the past few years, the company has seen plummeting profits, shrinking crowds and several lawsuits made regarding their captive animals. The majority of these types of response were catalyzed by a 2013 animal documentary known as `Blackfish`, which underscored the park`s poor treatment of Tilikum-a killer whale, which led to the death of trainer named Dawn Brancheau.
Three years on, and the company is facing countless criticisms from all aspects of the society. In fact, it has become the favorite target of animal rights groups such as Peta that have waged numerous online accusations for the early mistreatment of whales and other sea animals. A few months back, the park finally admitted to using fake protestors in animal right demonstrations to stir up violence. The theme park was also facing increasing pressure from the authorities, with the coastal commission last year approving a $100million expansion but only if it agreed to stop captive whale breeding- a verdict that Seaworld considered as unfair.
After enormous criticisms, Seaworld finally decided to close out its theatrical orca shows in SAN Diego. Just recently in March 2016, Seaworld agreed to put a stop to all theatrical parks and shows toe end orca captivity thus making a significant shift in the company overall agenda. To be specific, the theatrical shows at San Diego will conclude in 2017 and the parks in Orlando, San Antonio, and Florida will follow suit in 2019.
However, not every everyone is satisfied with the closure of the Orca Breeding Program. PETA also wants Seaworld to release the remaining captive orcas. However, doing so might endanger those whales that are no longer able to handle life the wild- this according to Seaworld California Company Blog.Instead, the remaining Orcas- such as Tilikum, who is sick and in old age after two decades at Seaworld, will live out the rest of their lives under the care of the park`s staff members.