SeaWorld San Diego to End Orca Shows

Theme park trying to repair its tarnished image by removing killer whales as entertainment.

On Monday, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby announced that by 2017 the San Diego location of the aquatic park will eliminate the Shamu show and replace it with a conservation-centric exhibit. To address SeaWorld’s plummeting attendance—which began after the release of the 2013 CNN documentary Blackfish—Manby discussed a plan to spend $100 million on expanding the park’s whale tanks, but in October the California Coastal Commission issued regulatory provisions barring the park from breeding orcas in captivity. Manby has said that SeaWorld will fight the new legislation, and that he plans to repurpose the $100 million toward changing SeaWorld’s perception into one of a conservationist facility. In regard to San Diego attendees, Manby stated that guests “want experiences that are more natural, and experiences that look more natural in the environment.” Those looking for similar actions across other SeaWorld locations should not expect much change as the conservationist approach is “not universal across our properties."

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