SeaWorld says it will end killer whale breeding – Orlando Sentinel

SeaWorld will end its killer whale breeding immediately, the company announced Thursday, after years of controversy over keeping its orcas in captivity.

The sweeping change to its business model will also include ending theatrical shows and introducing “new, inspiring, natural orca encounters.” That change will start in the San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.

The company has already agreed not to bring in any more wild cetaceans, meaning this will be SeaWorld’s last generation of killer whales. The current population of orcas– including one, Takara, that became pregnant last year – will live out their lives at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld had fought calls to stop breeding and to free its killer whales after years of struggling with declining attendance, the loss of corporate sponsorships, a weakened stock price. It has endured round after round of bad publicity, with the latest being that the orca Tilikum, which killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, has an incurable bacterial infection that could kill him. The company has never fully recovered from the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which painted a damning portrait of SeaWorld.


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