In the recent light of opposition against the captivity and spectacles of the orca whales, otherwise known as killer whales, SeaWorld San Diego ends famous Orca shows. The announcement made last Monday, November 9, 2015, also stated that the representations will continue until the end of 2016. Starting in 2017, they will be transformed into an experience more similar to the natural environment of the orcas.
Moreover, Joel Manby, CEO of SeaWorld confirmed that they are willing to listen to the public opinion and evolve the shows accordingly. The visitors of the park from South Carolina also expressed their will to see the natural behaviour of orcas instead of the usual tricks. However, the company is willing to oppose this ruling. Their explanation is that they plan to expand the enclosures, in an attempt to focus on the conservation of the species. Their expenses will be no small feat either, as the company plans to spend $100 million on the expansion and $50 thousand for the attraction that will replace the killer whale representation. SeaWorld’s most prolific moments included an orca leaping from the pool and splashing wast amounts of water onto the viewers seated on the front row of the Shamu Stadium.
The closure happens at a time when the attendance of the park has waned for some time, with the one in San Diego having the most problems. The reason SeaWorld San Diego ends its famous orca shows is considered mainly a result of the efforts of activists who support animal rights, as well as a documentary released in 2013, “Blackfish”. The documentary focused on one of the stars of the show, an orca blamed for killing its trainer, Dawn Brancheau, at SeaWorld Orlando.
However, many activists do not believe that this will be enough for the future of the killer whales, and many more voiced their opinions against the breeding practices that take place at SeaWorld. While PETA agreed that it is a good step towards the rights of the animals, they also stated that even though the animals are not beaten they continue to suffer as they are deprived of their freedom. Up to this moment, this is the only SeaWorld park to end their orca shows, but if the pressure will continue, we can expect other parks in Orlando, San Antonio and Florida to follow the fate of the San Diego one.
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