In the face of unrelenting public pressure, SeaWorld San Diego has announced that it’ll end its signature killer whales show by 2017.
What the theme park will introduce is a new kind of orca show, one that is less dependent on Shamu whales performing tricks. Instead, the relaunched show will be more “informative” and will place these whales in a more natural setting. No other details of the show have been released.
SeaWorld San Diego has been embroiled in a public relations nightmare since the release of the documentary, “Blackfish,” in 2013, which brought unprecedented public attention to what critics charge as the marine park’s inhumane treatment of orca whales in captivity.
Last month, the California Coastal Commission ruled to ban orca breeding at the San Diego theme park. SeaWorld San Diego is appealing the decision.
Grey Stafford, PhD, Director of Conservation at the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium in Phoenix, AZ. He is the incoming president of the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association, which represents some 2,000 animal trainers around the world
Naomi Rose, PhD, Marine Mammal Scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, an animal rights organization based in DC