SeaWorld has decided to end its orca show. However, the marine attraction won’t stop keeping the killer whales in captivity, defeating the primary concern behind Shamu’s shows.
SeaWorld plans to end its orca shows at its San Diego Park. Though there are conflicting reports that don’t confirm the exact timeframe about the cessation of the once hugely popular attraction, SeaWorld has agreed to begin phasing out the show starting next year and will completely cease using orcas for tricks by 2017.
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced Monday that it plans to end its orca shows, but the company won’t stop keeping the killer whales in captivity, reported Fox Report Daily. The company took the decision after visitors at the tourist attraction made it clear they prefer seeing killer whales act naturally rather than doing tricks. The company confirmed the change.
“As a point just to further clarify, the change in killer whale presentations was based on input we’ve received in our San Diego Park. The new show will include conservation messaging and tips on how to make a difference for orcas in the wild.”
SeaWorld’s reputation has taken multiple hits, but suffered a severe blow in 2013 by a scathing documentary co-produced by CNNFilms. Titled Blackfish, the documentary exposed the deplorable mental conditions of these intelligent mammals. It dealt with Tilikum, a killer whale that caused the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. The killer whale pulled her trainer into a pool at SeaWorld Orlando and refused to let go, until the latter died.
Having been born and bred in captivity, these skilled hunters are said to suffer from depression, and animal behaviorists strongly believe these creatures can and do harm their young ones, sometimes refusing to feed them. As reported earlier by the Inquisitr, a beluga whale died under mysterious circumstances. She had lost her calves. PETA still claims the beluga whale died due to depression that developed due to being kept in captivity.
SeaWorld confirmed it will cease to make orcas do tricks, but its CEO’s statement revealed that the company won’t stop breeding them in captivity. CEO Joel Manby informed investors the park — where the iconic “Shamu” show featuring killer whales doing flips and other stunts debuted decades ago — will offer a different kind of orca experience, focusing on the animal’s natural setting and behaviors, starting in 2017, reported SF Gate.
SeaWorld’s San Diego Park is the only location where shows featuring the orcas will cease. SeaWorld parks in Orlando and San Antonio are expected to gradually phase out the shows at a later date, but for now, the shows featuring killer whales will continue at these two SeaWorld parks. Animal rights activists applauded SeaWorld’s plans to end its orca shows, but aren’t happy about the fact that the orcas will continue to be held and bred in captivity, reported Today.
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who has been crusading for the killer whales and is behind the federal legislation that seeks to end captive orca breeding, commended the organization on its decision, but said the following.
“The fact still remains that as long as SeaWorld holds orcas in captivity, the physical and psychological problems associated with their captivity will persist.”
Ever since the release of the documentary, SeaWorld’s once-healthy revenue has been steadily dwindling. Audience numbers have gone down significantly.
SeaWorld is planning to introduce a way to observe the orcas by stimulating a natural environment for them, primarily to meet the expectations of its patrons, said Manby.
“They want the orca experience to be activities the whales do in the wild. Things they perceive as tricks, they don’t like as well.”
SeaWorld may bring about changes for the sake of the orcas, but these killer whales are still being held in captivity, lamented activists.
[Photo by Gerardo Mora / Getty Images, Mike Aguilera / SeaWorld San Diego via Getty Images]