SeaWorld announced on Monday that it would be phasing out its killer whale show at its San Diego park in 2016. The closing announcement comes ahead of proposed federal legislation bill that would prohibit or alter SeaWorld’s ability to interact with captive and wild orcas in the manor that is currently occurring at SeaWorld parks in San Diego CA, Orlando, FL and San Antonio, TX. The announcement only makes reference to the San Diego location at this time.
The announcement appears to be a new strategy by SeaWorld to combat criticism leveled at the theme park in the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which condemned SeaWorld for its treatment of orcas. The documentary has led to decrease in attendance numbers and at SeaWorld Parks and SeaWorld seems to be trying to find there way though these murky times.
SeaWorld has stated that the familiar killer whale shows would be replaced by a new educational based orca experience carrying a message of conservation in hopes of inspiring people to act, according to the, San Diego Union-Tribune.
SeaWorld, on the opposite end of the spectrum, says its whales are thriving and the parks foster understanding of the animals.
“While efforts to phase out whales in human care may strike an emotional chord, SeaWorld and other science-based organizations are part of the solution, not the problem,” Jill Kermes, a spokeswoman for SeaWorld Entertainment, said in a statement.