SeaWorld "No More Orca Breeding" Media Announcement Roundup

posted Mar 23, 2016, 8:37 PM by Jeffrey Ventre   [ updated Mar 24, 2016, 7:31 PM ]
SeaWorld’s announcement to end captive orca breeding is a step in the right direction, for orcas, and we support efforts to phase out all marine mammals from captivity. Below is a collection of the journalism, videos & media announcements that occurred on or about 17 March 2016, a day that will be remembered. Please share these articles with friends and via social media. Thank you to the public which helped make this change possible, to the efforts of the animal justice community, and to the "Blackfish Effect," which was catalyzed by the world's most famous killer whale, Tilikum, who has spent the majority of his life in a small tank at SeaWorld. 
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ON / Blackfish's Howard Garrett on the Annoucement


NBC Nightly News: SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Breeding Program

World News Tonight: SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Performances Amid Pressure

CBS Evening News: SeaWorld to end killer whale shows

PBS NewsHour: No more Shamu — SeaWorld to end breeding of killer whales

CBS News: >From SeaWorld to Whole Foods, animal advocates shake up big biz

Associated Press: After years of pressure, SeaWorld to stop breeding orcas

Los Angeles Times: SeaWorld's watershed change of heart on orcas

Orlando Sentinel: We welcome SeaWorld move on orcas: Where we stand

The San Diego Union-Tribune: What SeaWorld will do without orca breeding

The San Diego Union-Tribune: PETA won’t be satisfied with SeaWorld — ever

San Antonio Express-News: SeaWorld announces end to orca breeding

Albuquerque Journal: Expanded cougar trapping challenged in federal, state courts

The Seattle Times: Puget Sound orca advocates hail SeaWorld’s decision to stop breeding killer whales

Austin Patch: SeaWorld Ends Orca Breeding Program, Use Of Whales As Entertainment

WTNH: Officials with Mystic Aquarium speak out about SeaWorld announcement

WQAD: SeaWorld is ending Killer Whale breeding and ‘theatrical performances’

WFTV: Emotions mixed over SeaWorld decision to end killer whale breeding program

WFLA: SeaWorld to stop breeding orca whales

KSAT: SeaWorld visitors react to killer whale changes

KUSI: SeaWorld announces end of orca breeding

Bay News 9: SeaWorld ending its orca breeding program

KGTV San Diego: SeaWorld to end captive orca breeding, Shamu shows

CW 6 San Diego: Seaworld Ends Captive Breeding

Fox 4 Orlando: Marketing professor gives his thoughts on SeaWorld orca announcement

CBS Miami: Animal Activists Demand Release of “Lolita” After Big SeaWorld Announcement

Fox San Antonio: What's next for SeaWorld San Antonio?

Time Warner Cable News Austin: Orca Breeding to End at SeaWorld

Fox 7 Austin: SeaWorld to cease theatrical shows & breeding orcas

KPBS: SeaWorld Agrees To End Captive Killer Whale Breeding

Milwaukee Public Radio: SeaWorld To End Orca Breeding Program In Partnership With Humane Society Vice News: SeaWorld Says the Current Generation of Captive Orcas Will Be the Park's Last

Teen Vogue: SeaWorld Is Officially Ending Its Killer Whale (Orca) Program

Mental Floss: SeaWorld Will Stop Breeding Killer Whales in Captivity

Christian Science Monitor: SeaWorld ends orca breeding program: Rise of the 'humane economy'? (+video)

The Guardian: Stopping SeaWorld isn't enough. The fight must now go to the open oceans

The Guardian: After SeaWorld, here are the six other animal scandals we need to fix

The Guardian: Former SeaWorld trainer who led campaign against park: 'I feel vindicated'

The Globe and Mail: SeaWorld’s orca decision is the first step on a long road

Epoch Times: SeaWorld Ends Captive Breeding of Orcas at All Its Parks

Think Christian: SeaWorld and the humane economy

Associations Now: As SeaWorld Drops Orcas, a Former Foe Becomes a Friend

Jewish Business News: SeaWorld Announces End to Captive Orca Whale Breeding, Show

Travel Mole: SeaWorld to stop breeding killer whales

Grasswire: SeaWorld Orlando to End Orca Breeding Program

First Post: SeaWorld to partner with Humane Society, end whale breeding programme immediately

The Motley Fool: Why SeaWorld Entertainment, Office Depot, and Banco Bradesco Jumped Today

Mice Chat: Fab News: Berry Fun, Star Wars and SeaWorld Splashdown

YubaNet: Feinstein Statement on Sea World Decision to End Orca Shows, Breeding

Mondaq: SeaWorld And HSUS Unite

CNN en Español: SeaWorld dice que esta será la última generación de orcas en sus parques

BBC Mundo: Sea World termina con su polémico programa de cría de orcas

Univision: SeaWorld anuncia el fin de su programa de espectáculos con orcas

Telemundo: SeaWorld dice que no criará más orcas en cautiverio

Hoy Los Angeles: Tras años de polémica, SeaWorld anuncia el final de su programa de cría de orcas

El Nuevo Herald: SeaWorld pone fin a cría de orcas tras años de controversia

MDZOL: No habrá más espectáculos en Sea World

La Vanguardia: SeaWorld pone fin al programa de cría de orcas tras años de polémicas

Miami Diario: SeaWorld anuncia el fin de sus espectáculos con Orcas

El Universal: Termina Cautiverio de Orcas en SeaWorld

Merca20: SeaWorld dice adiós para siempre al show de ballenas asesinas

El Colombiano: SeaWorld anuncia fin de los espectáculos con orcas

Le Soleil: SeaWorld n'élèvera plus d'orques en captivité

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/us/seaworld-breeding-killer-whales.html?smid=tw-share

 



SeaWorld Says It Will End Breeding of Killer Whales

By SEWELL CHAN MARCH 17, 2016

Orca killer whales during a show at SeaWorld in San Diego. Credit Mike Blake/Reuters

SeaWorld said on Thursday that it would immediately cease breeding killer whales, bowing to mounting criticism by animal rights activists, regulators and lawmakers over the treatment of marine mammals in captivity.

SeaWorld announced in November that it would phase out its San Diego killer whale performance this year, but it went further on Thursday, declaring that the orcas in its care would be the last generation of killer whales at its theme parks.

“We need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create,” Joel Manby, the president and chief executive of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, wrote in an op-ed article in The Los Angeles Times announcing the decision.

The company has 29 orcas: 11 in San Diego; seven in Orlando, Fla.; five in San Antonio; and six in Loro Parque, on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. It does not plan to release the killer whales into the ocean, arguing that they would not be able to survive in the wild.

SeaWorld has been under fire after a 2012 book by David Kirby, “Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity,” and a 2013 documentary, “Blackfish,” assailed the treatment of killer whales at SeaWorld Orlando. (Tilikum, the whale featured in the film, is in poor healththere.)

In October, the California Coastal Commission banned the breeding of orcas in captivity, a decision that SeaWorld challenged as an overreach of the agency’s authority. The commission attached the ban to its approval of a proposed expansion of SeaWorld’s whale habitat in San Diego.

Mr. Manby, in his op-ed article, took note of the commission’s decision, along with proposed legislation in the California State Legislature and in Congress to ban orca captivity, including the capture, import and export of the whales.

“We will end all orca breeding programs — and because SeaWorld hasn’t collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld’s care,” he wrote.

Mr. Manby said, however, that SeaWorld’s whales would remain in captivity.

“Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives,” he wrote. “If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die. In fact, no orca or dolphin born under human care has ever survived release into the wild. Even the attempt to return the whale from ‘Free Willy,’ Keiko, who was born in the wild, was a failure.”

SeaWorld said it would “introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows,” at its San Diego park this year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.

The company also announced a $50 million, five-year partnership with the Humane Society of the United States to improve its educational programs, teach visitors about animal welfare and conservation and expand advocacy for marine wildlife.

In a conference call with Mr. Manby, the president and chief executive of the Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle, called it “a monumental announcement.” Among other things, the partnership includes a greater “focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild.” SeaWorld parks will sell food “from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork.”

Representative Adam B. Schiff, a California Democrat who had sponsored a bill that would prohibit the breeding, capture, import and export of orcas for public display, also applauded SeaWorld’s decision.

“The partnership they are making with the Humane Society, with its focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy on important marine issues not only represents a change in their business model, but an exciting new direction for the company,” he said in a statement.

Killer whales, which are found in all the world’s oceans, were once reviled as predators, but, in recent decades, they have entered the ranks of adored wildlife, joining lions, polar bears and elephants. Orcas have strong family bonds, cooperate to hunt and possess startling vocal expressiveness.

Their beauty — and their ability to be trained by humans in captivity for performances — helped fuel public interest in their well being.

“Free Willy,” a 1993 family film involving a boy and his affection for a young orca in the Pacific Northwest, drew significant attention to the plight of the whales. Keiko, the whale in the movie, was captured off the coast of Iceland in the late 1970s and ended up at a marine park in Mexico.

After the film was released, money poured in to construct a rehabilitation tank in Oregon to prepare Keiko for release into the ocean. But Keiko had to relearn how to be a whale, as Susan Orlean reported in The New Yorker: He lacked sufficient ability to hold his breath, swim robustly and catch food.Released in 2002, he was found dead in a Norwegian fjord the next year, felled by pneumonia.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an activist group that has been an unrelenting critic of SeaWorld, welcomed the move but , argued that SeaWorld should go further and consider releasing the whales on a case-by-case basis.

“For decades, orcas, dolphins, beluga whales, seals and many other animals have suffered in SeaWorld confinement, and, to do right by them now, SeaWorld must open the tanks to ocean sanctuaries so that these long-suffering animals may have some semblance of a life outside their prison tanks,” the group’s president, Ingrid E. Newkirk, said in a statement. “SeaWorld has taken a step forward, but more must come.”

She added that some orcas “can be successfully transferred to sea pens that mimic their natural environments and potentially released back into their home waters, depending on the needs and abilities of each orca individually.”

Mr. Manby said that idea was unrealistic. “It would be easier from a P.R. perspective if you put them out in a sea cage because it sounds nice,” he told reporters on the conference call. “We are very concerned about the animals’ health. If we did that and it failed — as I believe the Keiko experiment did — it would be on us, and then we would be criticized for that. This is a very difficult issue.”

The scrutiny has harmed SeaWorld’s image, attendance and stock price. But in its most recent earnings report, it said that total attendance was 22.47 million in 2015, an increase of 70,000 from 2014. Total revenues dropped slightly, to $1.37 billion in 2015, from $1.38 billion a year earlier. Net income fell to $49.1 million in 2015, from $49.9 million a year earlier.

***


 


http://www.wsj.com/articles/seaworld-to-stop-breeding-killer-whales-at-theme-parks-1458211346

 

SeaWorld to Stop Breeding Killer Whales at Theme Parks

Move comes after bruising period of attendance declines and disappointing financial results amid public scrutiny

Austen Hufford

Updated March 17, 2016 11:02 a.m. ET

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. said Thursday that it will stop breeding killer whales and will end theatrical shows featuring them, a dramatic shift for the company that has been under heavy public scrutiny for its treatment of the marine mammals.

The move comes after a bruising period of declining attendance, disappointing financial results and the ousting of its chief executive following the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which shone a negative light on the company’s treatment of orcas.

The move comes as the company had been told by California regulators that it could only move forward with a big SeaWorld San Diego expansion plan if it ended breeding and orca transfers at the expanded facility. The company sued the regulator, the California Coastal Commission, over those approval conditions. The Blue World project involves the creation of a holding tank with water volume of 10 million gallons, double the size of its existing facility. Last year the company said its $300 million Blue World project would significantly expand the size of its orca enclosures at its three SeaWorld locations.

On Thursday, the theme park and entertainment company said that instead of shows, it will open new “Orca Encounters” exhibits that will focus on educating visitors on the plights of marine mammals. The new presentation will debut in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.

The company also plans to highlight its marine animal rescue efforts to visitors. The company said it spent about $10 million annually in recent years on rescue efforts but that it doesn't promote these efforts enough.

It plans to keep running its dolphin and other shows but said that might change as consumer demands shift.

“I’ve struggled with this decision more than any other decision I’ve made in business” Chief Executive Joel Manby said on a call with analysts. “The company now can double down on growing the business and focus on positive, energetic, inspiration things again.”

SeaWorld said consumers reacted positively to surveys on the changes and the company expects attendance and revenue to increase in future years as a result of the changes.

The Humane Society of the United States, previously one of SeaWorld’s main critics, applauded the changes and announced a research and educational partnership with the company on Thursday.

Another vocal critic, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal-rights group known by its acronym, also supported the changes but called for SeaWorld to transfer the animals to sea pens and release those that could be reintroduced to the wild.

“PETA has campaigned hard, and now there is a payoff for future generations of orcas,” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said.

In February SeaWorld acknowledged it had directed an employee to pose as an animal-rights activist, months after PETA alleged the company sent in a spy to monitor and incite activists.

Last November, the Orlando, Fla.-based company said it would end theatrical orca shows at the San Diego park and transition to shows focusing on orcas’ behavior in the wild. It said at the time that shows would continue at its Orlando and San Antonio parks.

The 29 killer whales currently in the company’s care, which the company says typically live up to 50 years, will be the last generation at SeaWorld. The company says it had not taken an orca from the wild in 35 years, but it had continued to breed its current stock. One of its whales is currently pregnant.

The company said it has stopped artificial insemination of the whales and would use birth control and other measures to prevent natural breeding.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV sold its SeaWorld business to private-equity firm Blackstone LP in 2009 for $2.3 billion. Blackstone then took the company public in April of 2013 for $27 a share. The stock surged to nearly $40 a share in mid-2013 but has declined sharply since. Blackstone remains the company’s biggest shareholder, with a 22.2% stake, according to FactSet.

Shares of the company rose 4.6% to $17.91 in midday trading. They are down 9% so far this year.




 


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/17/seaworld-says-its-current-generation-of-killer-whales-will-be-the-last/

 

SeaWorld says its current generation of killer whales ‘will be the last’

By J. Freedom du Lac and Lindsey Bever March 17 at 7:44 AM


Tilikum performs during a show at SeaWorld in Orlando in this 2009 file photo. (Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)

Embattled theme-park operator SeaWorld announced Thursday that it is ending its controversial captive-breeding program for orcas, meaning the killer whales in its care “will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld.”

The company said it is ending “all orca breeding” immediately, putting an end to a practice animal-rights activists have called inhumane — and that had already been prohibited by officials in California.

“Why the big news?” the company said in a statement. “SeaWorld has been listening and we’re changing. Society is changing and we’re changing with it. SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guest to take action to protect wild animals and wild places.”

SeaWorld has come under intense scrutiny over its treatment of captive killer whales since the highly critical 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which spotlighted the animals’ living conditions and the dangers posed to their handlers.

The company’s CEO resigned in December 2014 after months of declining revenue and attendance at its 11 parks across the United States. Last year, it announced the end of its iconic killer whale shows in San Diego.

The California Coastal Commission said in October that SeaWorld would not be permitted to breed the animals while in captivity. The new breeding restrictions — announced as the commission approved an expansion of SeaWorld San Diego’s killer whale habitat — made it likely that the orcas currently in captivity would be among the company’s last; SeaWorld has now made it official.

“This announcement reaffirms our commitment to not collect marine mammals from the wild,” the company said. “After all, we haven’t collected an orca from the wild in almost 40 years, and the orcas at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent almost their entire lives in human care.”

Animal welfare groups praised Thursday’s announcement.

The Humane Society of the United States, which partnered with SeaWorld on its new policies, said it was it was glad the company is taking steps toward better practices.

“Today’s announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end and that SeaWorld will redouble its work around rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals in crisis and partner with us to tackle global threats to marine creatures,” Humane Society president and CEO Wayne Pacellesaid in a statement.

The Animal Welfare Institute called the announcement “a monumental and important first step forward in achieving a more humane business model for the company. ”

The orcas currently in captivity will not be released into the wild.

SeaWorld Entertainment president and chief executive Joel Manby said in an op-ed published by the Los Angeles Times that “some critics want us to go even further; they want us to ‘set free’ the orcas currently in our care. But that’s not a wise option.

“Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives. If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die. In fact, no orca or dolphin born under human care has ever survived release into the wild. Even the attempt to return the whale from ‘Free Willy,’ Keiko, who was born in the wild, was a failure.

“For as long as they live, the orcas at SeaWorld will stay in our parks. They’ll continue to receive the highest-quality care, based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science and zoological best practices.”

“Blackfish,” the documentary that inflamed the SeaWorld backlash, focused on the life of Tilikum, a SeaWorld orca that killed one of his trainers and is associated with two other deaths. Last week, SeaWorld Orlando announced that Tilikum is suffering from an illness that may take his life.



 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/03/17/seaworld-orcas-killer-whales/81900498/

 

 

SeaWorld to phase out killer-whale shows, captivity

 Nathan Bomey6:54 a.m. EDT March 17, 2016

 

Tilikum is the name of the Killer Whale who unintentionally drowned his trainer at Seaworld back in 2010. This week it has been reported that his health is failing him. USA TODAY

AP KILLER WHALES SLAVERY A USA FL

(Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP)

 

Embattled amusement-park operator SeaWorld Entertainment said Thursday that the killer whales currently living at its facilities will be its last because it will stop breeding them immediately and phase out theatrical orca shows.

The move comes nearly three years after SeaWorld came under pressure for its treatment of killer whales and their trainers in the documentary "Blackfish."

The company had already announced plans to end killer-whale shows at its San Diego park following regulatory scrutiny in California.

SeaWorld will turn its attention to "new, inspiring, natural orca encounters" while its killer whales are alive, the company said in a statement. The shows will end at its San Diego park in 2017 "followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019," SeaWorld said.

The company has been under heavy pressure from animal-rights activists, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other watchdog groups, to end shows and breeding. PETA has called for SeaWorld to move its orcas to sanctuaries.

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said in a statement. "As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

The company, which said it has not collected any orcas from the wild in more than 40 years, said its orcas will live out their lives at SeaWorld. That includes one pregnant orca named Takara.

"They will continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science, and zoological best practices," SeaWorld said. "Guests will be able to observe these orcas through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats."

SeaWorld also announced a new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States to create educational programs and advocate for the health and welfare of marine life. The company said it would spend $50 million over five years to rescue animals and fight commercial fishing of whales and seals and fight the shark-finning.

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle said in a statement.

SeaWorld has been struggling with an image problem and corresponding attendance issues in the wake of the "Blackfish" documentary. The company has turned to discounts to juice attendance and a marketing campaign to restore its image, which has suffered heavy setbacks — particularly in California.

The move marks the latest significant shakeup at SeaWorld since Manby's appointment about a year ago.

Manby recently overhauled his management team, replacing the company's chief parks operations officer, chief zoological officer and San Antonio park director.

The company also last month admitted that some of its employees had posed as animal-rights activists and that it had ended the practice — an acknowledgment that came after PETA last year accused a San Diego park worker spying on its anti-SeaWorld protests.

Despite the strategic shift, orcas are likely to live at SeaWorld for many years to come.

The average male orca life span is about 30 years, though they can live up to 60, while the average female orca life span is 50 years and they can live up to 100, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But a 1995 study showed that the mortality rate for orcas living in captivity is 2.5 times higher than orcas living in the wild, according to the Animal Welfare Institute.

Tilikum, the SeaWorld orca whose troubles were chronicled in the documentary, is suffering from a bacterial infection in his lungs, SeaWorld said last week.

The orca, which was linked to the deaths of three SeaWorld employees, is facing deteriorating health.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey




 

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-seaworld-orca-breeding-20160317-story.html

 

Money drove SeaWorld's choice to stop breeding killer whales

SeaWorld

An orca leaps above its pool during a performance at SeaWorld San Diego.

(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Sandra Pedicini and Hugo MartinContact Reporters

SeaWorld will stop its orca breeding program, the company announced Thursday, after years of controversy over keeping its orcas in captivity and discomfiting drops in attendance at its theme parks and the value of its stock.

The 29 captive killer whales in the current generation are to live out their lives in SeaWorld's enclosures, but they will not be replaced.

The sweeping change to SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s business model also will include ending theatrical shows nationwide and replacing them with exhibits that highlight the orcas' natural behaviors. That change will start in the San Diego park next year.

"I've struggled with this decision more than any other decision I've made in business," Chief Executive Joel Manby said Thursday morning. "I feel relieved. I think the company now can double down on growing the business and focus on positive, energetic, inspirational and creative things again."

Money drove this decision

For decades, SeaWorld has been beset by criticism from animal advocates, and it has never fully recovered from the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," which accused the company of neglecting and abusing the orcas.

SeaWorld dismissed the groups' criticism and disputed the documentary's allegations for years — until it became clear that, from a business perspective, change was inevitable.

SeaWorld CEO: We're ending our orca breeding program. Here's why.

"They had to evolve because they wanted to continue to make money," said Wendy Patrick, a business ethics lecturer at San Diego State University.

Since the release of "Blackfish," SeaWorld's stock has lost more than half its value.

It was only last year, after saying park attendance dropped 4% in 2014, that SeaWorld began to acknowledge "public perception" was hurting its bottom line. The company launched a $15-million campaign to repair its image and pledged to spend up to $100 million to double the size of its San Diego orca enclosure.

Attendance rebounded slightly but has not grown as fast as the attendance at other theme parks, such as Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood.

"No company, no matter how great, could withstand such a withering, prolonged and well-funded assault without sustaining damage to its reputation and bottom line," said Kathleen Dezio, president and chief executive of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, a trade group. 

Still, until Thursday, SeaWorld stood firm about continuing to breed the animals. As recently as late December, its San Diego park sued the California Coastal Commission for including a no-breeding condition on its approval of the larger orca enclosure.

Investors cheered the company's decision to stop its breeding program. Its stock jumped as much as 7% in morning trading.

A new path forward

SeaWorld's decision means the company is forcing itself to envision a future without orca shows, its most popular attraction, said Martin Lewison, a theme parks expert and assistant business professor at Farmdale State College in New York. He called the move brave.

But SeaWorld won't need to immediately decide on a future course: The 29 orcas it already has — including one that became pregnant last year — could live several more decades. And Manby said he expects that SeaWorld will continue to display other animals, such as dolphins and beluga whales.

After Manby became CEO of SeaWorld last year, he began moving the company in a direction toward emphasizing its conservation and rescue work. Last year, SeaWorld announced it would end theatrical orca shows at its San Diego park. Its California park has taken the biggest hit from controversy over its captive orcas.

An orca enclosure

Manby says SeaWorld's decision reflects society's changing views about animals in performances and captivity.

Last year, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus announced it would retire its elephants — then in January announced it would move up the date by two years, ending their performances in May. Universal Studios stopped using orangutans in its Animal Actors shows, and other aquariums have eliminated or scaled back on dolphin shows.

Thursday's move "should satisfy a very large portion of SeaWorld's audience," Bob Boyd, leisure analyst with Pacific Asset Management, said in an email. "By being proactive, management should be able to control the transition of the parks … to more of a classic theme park experience. Management should also have many years to promote their killer whales in a 'see them before they go away forever' program that should help fund their transition."

As SeaWorld moves forward, it has the backing of a longtime adversary, the Humane Society of the United States. The two announced a partnership Thursday morning.  

Why aren’t the orcas being set free?

Not everyone was satisfied by SeaWorld's announcement. The company's most vocal critic, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement that "SeaWorld must open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks."

Manby said SeaWorld does not currently think releasing whales to sea pens is the answer — but he didn't completely rule it out in the long-term future either.

"It sounds nice, but we are very concerned for the animals' health. We're the ones responsible for them. If we did that and it failed ... it would be on us, and then we would be criticized for that," he said.

The company announced Thursday morning that the breeding program would end immediately. The company also announced a partnership with the Humane Society.

"I'm clearly showing I can change, I can listen, I can move with society. Nothing is forever. As the science stands today, and the examples we have, I don't think it’s worth the risk to these animals. We'll just keep talking every year about this."

SeaWorld and some outside marine biologists have said that most of the company's whales have spent most or all of their lives in captivity and could not survive outside the parks without constant human care.

PETA has suggested that the orcas be kept in enclosed areas of the ocean known as sea pens.  

No sea pens currently exist that could hold all 29 of the company's orcas, either as a group or individually. Experts say the cost of building such pens could reach $5 million each, with staffing costs of up to $500,000 a year for each pen. SeaWorld's net income last year was $49.1 million.

The most often cited example of a captive orca released to a sea pen is Keiko, the whale featured in the 1993 Warner Bros. movie "Free Willy."  

Keiko was captured off Iceland in 1979 and trained to perform at theme parks. After several years at a theme park in Mexico City, the whale was transported to a sea pen in Iceland in 1998.

During a short swim outside of the pen, accompanied by caretakers on a ship, Keiko swam away and turned up in a deep inlet in Norway, where he was found cavorting with children and fishermen along the shore. He died a few months later of acute pneumonia.

***

 



http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/os-seaworld-ends-killer-whale-breeding-20160317-story.html

 

SeaWorld says it will end killer whale breeding

SeaWorld Orlando has released this video about caring for Tilikum, since the killer whale became part of SeaWorld’s family 23 years ago. 

Sandra Pedicini

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.

Through it all, SeaWorld has stood firm about breeding orcas. It filed a lawsuit last year after the Coastal California Commission said it could only expand its killer whale tanks if it would agree to end breeding. At the time, the company insisted that stopping the breeding program was inhumane.

"As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it," said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., in a statement. "By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

After Manby became chief executive officer of SeaWorld last year, he began moving the company in a direction toward emphasizing its conservation and rescue work.

Last year the company announced it would end theatrical orca shows in San Diego. Its California park has taken the biggest hit from controversy over its captive orcas.

SeaWorld also announced a partnership with the Humane Society, which lauded the decision.

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS. "Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld's focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork."




 

http://www.tbo.com/news/business/seaworld-announces-end-of-all-breeding-of-killer-whales-20160317/

 

SeaWorld announces end of all breeding of killer whales

The 24 whales currently at SeaWorld’s three parks will live out their lives at the company’s habitats. ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

 

TBO.com staff

Published: March 17, 2016

SeaWorld announced this morning that it would end all breeding of killing whales and that the current generation of orcas in its care would be the last.

The company currently has 24 orcas at three parks in Orlando, California and Texas.

Those whales – including Takara, who became pregnant last year – will live out their lives at the company’s park habitats. Guests will be able to observe these orcas “through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats,” the company said.

SeaWorld announced last year it would end its orca theatrical shows.

The whales are remaining in captivity because setting them free in the wild was “not a wise option,” the company said. Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives. If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die,” SeaWorld president Joel Manby wrote in a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.

SeaWorld also announced a new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States to protect oceans and sea life, with a commitment to educate visitors on animal welfare and conservation “through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy.”

The company had been under pressure in recents years after the release of the documentary “Blackfish,” which argued that placing whales in captivity made then violent and decreased their life span.




 

http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_29651434/seaworld-end-all-theatrical-shows-and-captive-breeding

 

SeaWorld to end all theatrical shows and captive breeding of killer whales

By Paul Rogers, progers@mercurynews.com

Posted:   03/17/2016 10:50:49 AM PDT | Updated:   about 6 hours ago


An orca whale performs during the One Ocean show at SeaWorld San Diego on Oct. 9, 2015 in San Diego. On Thursday, March 17, 2016, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced the firm was shutting down its captive breeding program and ending all killer whale shows at its theme park locations.

 

In a landmark victory for animal advocates, SeaWorld announced Thursday that it will stop breeding killer whales in captivity and will phase out shows that feature killer whales performing tricks.

 

The theme park operator said it is realigning its business, and will show the roughly two dozen orcas it owns at three parks in tanks with more natural settings for the rest of their lives, not replacing them. SeaWorld also said it is launching a new $50 million effort to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals in the wild, and that it will advocate politically for an end to commercial whaling, shark finning and coral reef destruction worldwide, making it more of a conservation organization in the style of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

"We've helped make orcas among the most beloved marine mammals on the planet. As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it," said Joel Manby, CEO of SeaWorld. "By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will experience these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

 

The decision comes five months after the California Coastal Commission denied SeaWorld a permit to continue captive breeding of orcas at its San Diego park. It also follows dropping attendance at SeaWorld parks after the documentary "Blackfish," a 2013 film that features footage of attacks by orcas on SeaWorld trainers, and which documents harsh conditions and extreme stress of the animals in tight confinement.

"This is a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change," said Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of "Blackfish."

 

SeaWorld operates three marine parks in the United States, in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando. The parks feature killer whale, dolphin and sea lion shows, along with roller coasters and other rides.

 

The first park, which opened in San Diego in 1964, was founded by four UCLA graduate students, Milton Shedd, Ken Norris, David Demott and George Millay. The park was a success, and the business expanded into other cities, eventually being purchased by Anheuser Busch in 1989. In 2009, Busch Entertainment was sold to the Blackstone Group.

 

Sea World, which now draws 11 million visitors a year, has not captured orca whales in the wild for 40 years, but instead has bred them in captivity.

Following increasing protests from the Humane Society of the United States and other advocacy groups, and the release of Blackfish, political leaders began to push for a ban on captive breeding of orcas.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Los Angeles, introduced a bill in Congress last year that would have banned the practice, along with the capture of wild orcas and the importation of them from other countries. On Thursday, he praised Sea World's actions.

Calling the new effort on rehabilitation of animals in the wild and conservation "an exciting new direction for the company" that he predicted would boost attendance, he said: "SeaWorld's decision to end captive breeding and make no additional wild captures in the future, means that the current generation of captive Orcas in their parks will be the last."

The Humane Society signed a partnership Thursday with SeaWorld that calls for both organizations to join forces to lobby for a worldwide ban on commercial whaling, shark finning and coral reef destruction. SeaWorld also agreed as part of that deal that all seafood served in its parks will be sustainably caught from species that are not overfished in the wild, and that the parks will carry crate-free pork, cage-free eggs and more vegetarian options.

"It's a momentous announcement, and it comes almost exactly a year after Ringling Brothers agreed to phase out its elephant acts in traveling circuses," said Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

Pacelle said the changes were inevitable, given public pressure and society's evolving views of animals.

"Joel Manby, SeaWorld's CEO, is banking on the premise that the American public will come to SeaWorld's parks in larger numbers if he joins our cause instead of resisting it," Pacelle said, "and if SeaWorld is a change agent for the good of animals. He's exactly right, and I give him tremendous credit for his foresight."




 

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/mar/17/seaworld-to-stop-breeding-killer-whales/

 

SeaWorld ends orca breeding: 'The killer whales in our care will be the last'

By Debbi Baker | 6:40 a.m. March 17, 2016

 

It’s the end of an era for SeaWorld as the park announced Thursday that it will stop breeding orcas and phase out the theatrical "Shamu" shows in which the famed black and white whales used to star in favor of more natural exhibits.

In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, park president and CEO Joel Manby wrote that times and attitudes have changed and that SeaWorld was changing with them.

Besides ending the captive breeding program, SeaWorld will transition its current population of orcas, who cannot be returned to the wild, from its entertainment shows to what the park calls “new educational encounters” within the animals existing habitats and it will team up with the Humane Society of the United States on new initiatives focused on animal preserving and protection.

Here is Manby's letter in its entirety,

"Americans' attitudes about orcas have changed dramatically. When the first SeaWorld Park opened in 1964, orcas, or killer whales, were not universally loved, to put it mildly. Instead, they were feared, hated and even hunted. Half a century later, orcas are among the most popular marine mammals on the planet. One reason: People came to SeaWorld and learned about orcas up close.

For some time, SeaWorld has faced a paradox. Customers visit our marine parks, in part, to watch orcas. But a growing number of people don't think orcas belong in human care. Lawmakers in Sacramento and even in the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed legislation to phase out orca captivity. Even the California Coastal Commission — a state agency with oversight over land use and public access — moved last year to ban orca breeding at SeaWorld San Diego.

We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world's largest marine mammals. Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create — which is why SeaWorld is announcing several historic changes. This year we will end all orca breeding programs — and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care. We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows.

Some critics want us to go even further; they want us to “set free” the orcas currently in our care. But that's not a wise option.

Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives. If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die. In fact, no orca or dolphin born under human care has ever survived release into the wild. Even the attempt to return the whale from “Free Willy,” Keiko, who was born in the wild, was a failure.

For as long as they live, the orcas at SeaWorld will stay in our parks. They'll continue to receive the highest-quality care, based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science and zoological best practices.

These decisions — and the debates that preceded them — are about more than these orcas. Bigger questions are at stake than whether any animals anywhere should remain under human care.

Americans and thoughtful people everywhere need to acknowledge these fundamental problems: More than 3,000 species are endangered, and hundreds are lost every year. Some scientists predict that, within a century, 50% of large mammals will be extinct.

Wild animals and wild places will continue to disappear — biologists call this “the sixth extinction,” comparable to previous cataclysms such as the ice age — unless humans awaken and take action.

In this impending crisis, the real enemies of wildlife are poaching, pollution, unsustainable human development and man-made disasters such as oil spills — not zoos and aquariums.

Governments cannot address this crisis alone. We need concerned individuals to take action, as well as nongovernmental organizations. And, yes, the private sector also has to join in addressing this problem.

SeaWorld takes seriously its responsibility to preserve marine wildlife. That's why we are partnering with the Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest and most effective animal protection and advocacy organization. Together, we will work against commercial whaling and seal hunts, shark finning and ocean pollution.

The Humane Society recognizes the critical work SeaWorld performs as one of the largest rescue organizations in the world. SeaWorld will increase its focus on rescue operations — so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go.

SeaWorld will also join in the Humane Society's efforts to raise awareness of animal welfare, offering humane food options and serving only sustainable seafood.

Without a critical mass of informed and energized people, humanity will never make the difficult decisions that are necessary to halt and reverse the exploitation of wild places and the extinction of wild species.

By offering our guests enjoyable, memorable and educational experiences, SeaWorld will continue to create the constituency for conservation, just as we helped to inspire the changing attitudes that, in turn, inspired our company's changing policies."

The move comes almost three years after the film "Blackfish," which focused on the plight of orcas in captivity and focused on Tilikum who was involved in three deaths the film blamed on the stress of captivity.

The movie created storms of protests and calls to free the whales and resulted in declining attendance and revenue for the aquatic park.

Manby, who became SeaWorld's CEO last year, was brought in to turn things around for the embattled enterprise.




 

http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/sea-world-announces-end-to-orca-breeding-7657641

 

Sea World Announces End to Orca Breeding

By Deirdra Funcheon

Thursday, March 17, 2016

This just in from SeaWorld: The company has announced it will stop its orca breeding program. The move comes after years of pressure, triggered by the film Blackfish. 

The company's CEO, Joel Manby, wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times explaining the move, saying: "Americans' attitudes about orcas have changed dramatically. When the first SeaWorld Park opened in 1964, orcas, or killer whales, were not universally loved, to put it mildly. Instead, they were feared, hated and even hunted. Half a century later, orcas are among the most popular marine mammals on the planet. One reason: People came to SeaWorld and learned about orcas up close.

For some time, SeaWorld has faced a paradox. Customers visit our marine parks, in part, to watch orcas. But a growing number of people don't think orcas belong in human care. "

Pointing out that Keiko, the orca from the film Free Willy, died after being released in the wild, Manby wrote, "For as long as they live, the orcas at SeaWorld will stay in our parks." 

SeaWorld also will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals. These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.

SeaWorld also announced today a broad new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home. The company is committing to educating its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals, and other marine creatures.

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS. "Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld's focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork."

"We are pleased to join with HSUS on the significant issues facing marine mammals and their ocean homes," said Manby. "The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals. To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world's leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning."

The current population of orcas at SeaWorld – including one orca, Takara, that became pregnant last year – will live out their lives at the company's park habitats, where they will continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science, and zoological best practices. Guests will be able to observe these orcas through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats.

SeaWorld reaffirms its commitment not to collect marine mammals from the wild. It has not collected an orca from the wild in nearly 40 years, and the orcas at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent almost their entire lives in human care. These orcas could not survive in oceans that include environmental concerns such as pollution and other man-made threats.

Your move, Miami Seaquarium. 




 

http://blog.seattlepi.com/candacewhiting/2016/03/17/seaworld-announces-the-end-of-orca-captivity-and-a-partnership-with-the-humane-society/


SeaWorld announces the end of orca captivity and a partnership with the Humane Society

By Candace Calloway Whiting on March 17, 2016 at 5:33 AM

 

New Zealand orcas are  known to beach themselves as they hunt for rays, but it is unlikely that an entire pod would die this way.

Orca rescue in New Zealand

Today’s announcement is inspiring, not just in that SeaWorld will end the captivity of orcas in their parks, but in that they have recognized that they can do much to save the oceans and the animal life there.

Joy and gratitude is tumbling from everyone, and not just from animal lovers. SeaWord has shown that corporations can change from taking and using the planet’s resources to helping save what we have left.

A heartfelt thank you to all who helped bring this change about.

I think I’ll buy stock in the company, after all we can meet them halfway.

SeaWorld Announces Last Generation Of Orcas In Its Care

March 17, 2016
Press Release

Company Partners with Humane Society of the United States on New Animal Welfare and Wildlife Protection Initiatives

ORLANDO, Fla., March 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that the killer whales – or orcas – currently in the company’s care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld. The company will end all orca breeding as of today.

SeaWorld also will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals. These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.

SeaWorld also announced today a broad new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home. The company is committing to educating its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals, and other marine creatures.

“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

“SeaWorld’s commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS. “Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld’s focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork.”

“We are pleased to join with HSUS on the significant issues facing marine mammals and their ocean homes,” said Manby. “The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals. To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world’s leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning.”

The current population of orcas at SeaWorld – including one orca, Takara, that became pregnant last year – will live out their lives at the company’s park habitats, where they will continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science, and zoological best practices. Guests will be able to observe these orcas through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats.

SeaWorld reaffirms its commitment not to collect marine mammals from the wild. It has not collected an orca from the wild in nearly 40 years, and the orcas at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent almost their entire lives in human care. These orcas could not survive in oceans that include environmental concerns such as pollution and other man-made threats.




 

http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/03/seaworld_will_no_longer_breed.html 


SeaWorld will no longer breed killer whales, phasing out Shamu shows
By Joey Morona

March 17, 2016

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- SeaWorld will no longer breed orcas and phase out its signature killer whale shows that have both delighted audiences and outraged animal-rights activists for 50 years.

In a statement released Thursday, the company said its decision to end breeding orcas like Shamu at its parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio is effective immediately.

The move is a 180 for SeaWorld which, late last year, sued California after state officials imposed a ban on the breeding of orcas at its park there.  

"As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it," SeaWorld CEO and CEO Joel Manby said in the statement. "By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

SeaWorld San Diego previously announced it was ending its killer whale show and replacing it with a "natural orca encounter" next year. Now, the company's parks in Orlando and San Antonio will follow suit in 2019.

The Humane Society of the United States praised the changes at SeaWorld. "SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS.

SeaWorld announced it will spend $50 million over the next five years working with the Humane Society "to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning."

The changes come just a week after SeaWorld announced that Tilikum, the huge orca that was the subject of the documentary "Blackfish," was dying.

PETA, which has long campaigned for the release of killer whales in captivity, said SeaWorld's moves should be just the beginning.

"PETA has campaigned hard, and now there is a payoff for future generations of orcas," PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk is quoted in USA Today. "SeaWorld must open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks."

SeaWorld, however, said its current stable of killer whales, including one that is pregnant, will live out their lives at the company's theme parks.

***

 

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20160317/ARTICLE/160319703?tc=ar

 

SeaWorld will no longer breed killer whales

ORLANDO - Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. said this morning that the killer whales now in the company’s care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld.

Under increasing pressure over the treatment of the animals in captivity and with profits declining, the company said it will end all orca breeding as of today.

SeaWorld said it also will revamp its orca presentations, introducing what it called "new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals.

"These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019, the company said.

SeaWorld also announced "a broad new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States" to protect the oceans and its inhabitants.

"The company is committing to educating its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals, and other marine creatures."

“As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it," said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld.

“SeaWorld’s commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS.

“Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld’s focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork.”

"SeaWorld will spend $50 million over the next five years to be the world’s leading marine animal rescue organization, Manby said, "to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning.”

SeaWorld said it has not captured wild orcas in nearly 40 years, and the orcas at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent almost their entire lives in human care and could not survive if released.

The company did not address whether it would take in additionall orcas that needed medical care or rehabilitation, as many marine research organizations do.

***

 

http://news.yahoo.com/seaworld-says-stop-breeding-killer-whales-104140617--finance.html

 

Reuters

SeaWorld to end controversial killer whale breeding program

By Ramkumar Iyer

(Reuters) - Bowing to years of pressure from animal rights activists, U.S theme park operator SeaWorld said on Thursday it would stop breeding killer whales and that those currently at its parks would be the last.

Orlando-based SeaWorld has faced sagging attendance along with criticism about its treatment of the captive marine mammals, and some activists had called for the end of public exhibition of killer whales, or orcas, altogether.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc, which has parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio, said in November it would replace its signature "Shamu" killer whale shows in San Diego with displays focused on conservation.

California regulators had earlier agreed to allow SeaWorld to expand its orca habitat at SeaWorld San Diego, but only on the condition that the company cease captive breeding and the transfer of new killer whales to the park.

Some activists had called for SeaWorld to release its orcas into coastal sanctuaries. However, SeaWorld has said that whales raised or born in captivity would likely die in the wild.

SeaWorld, whose shares have fallen about 11 percent in the past year, had also faced a backlash after the release of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," which depicted the captivity and public exhibition of killer whales as inherently cruel.

The company has sought to counter negative publicity surrounding "Blackfish" with a public relations blitz aimed at drawing attention to SeaWorld's role in marine mammal research and its rescue and rehabilitation of animals in the wild.

Dr. Naomi Rose, a marine biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute who was an adviser to the film, said in an email that SeaWorld's move was a "monumental and important first step forward in achieving a more humane business model for the company."

SeaWorld, which has not collected any orcas at sea for almost 40 years, has 29 of the marine mammals under its care, including six on loan to third parties. (http://bit.ly/1pvSG0o)

The first killer whale was born in a SeaWorld park in 1985. Since then, 30 have been born in the parks.

SeaWorld, which attracts about 20 million visitors a year, said it would introduce natural orca shows in place of theatrical performances, focusing on exercise and the animals' health. The changes will be implemented in San Diego next year and in its other parks by 2019.

SeaWorld also said it would partner with the Humane Society of the United States to educate visitors. It has also set aside $50 million to advocate for an end to commercial whaling and seal hunting as well as the killing of sharks for their fins over the next five years.

(Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)




 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-17/urgent-seaworld-says-it-will-end-killer-whale-breeding-program

 

SeaWorld Says It Will End Killer Whale Breeding Program

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (FREIDA FRISARO and MIKE SCHNEIDER)

March 17, 2016 — 7:23 AM EDT Updated on March 17, 2016 — 10:58 AM EDT

Orlando, Fla. (AP) -- SeaWorld announced Thursday it will immediately stop breeding killer whales and end theatrical performances involving the iconic orcas at its theme parks following years of criticism over keeping them in captivity.

Park attendance at SeaWorld dropped after the 2013 release of the documentary "Blackfish," which was highly critical of the orca program. SeaWorld reported a fourth-quarter loss of $11 million in February.

"Society's attitudes have shifted," said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. during a telephone news conference. "It wasn't worth fighting that."

Along with ending its captive breeding program, the company said it is introducing "new, inspiring natural orca encounters."

"We needed to move to where society was moving. That's why it's now and not two years in the future," Manby said.

The new shows will begin next year at the SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s San Diego park, before expanding to its San Antonio park and then to the Orlando, Florida, park in 2019.

Orcas have long been a centerpiece of the SeaWorld parks. Shows at the Shamu stadium in San Diego became the main draw in the 1970s and helped make SeaWorld a top tourist attraction. The San Diego show was the original home of Shamu, SeaWorld's first orca.

SeaWorld officials said they were also forming a partnership with the Humane Society to help educate guests on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretive programs at the parks and by expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals and other marine creatures.

Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle said his organization and SeaWorld had been longtime foes, but he said it was time to turn criticism into collaboration.

"We don't come to this discussion with any naivete about the operations at SeaWorld," Pacelle said.

Criticism over keeping killer whales in captivity increased in 2010 after an orca named Tilikum grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau after a "Dine with Shamu" show and pulled her into the pool, killing her. The death was highlighted in "Blackfish." Tilikum, who was also involved in the deaths of two others, is now very sick. He has been at SeaWorld Orlando for 23 years.

Last month, SeaWorld acknowledged sending workers to infiltrate the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. At the time, Manby said the employees had been sent to PETA to protect the safety of its employees and customers, but he vowed to end the practice.

PETA, which has been especially critical of SeaWorld, said the company needs to do more for the animals.

"SeaWorld must open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks," PETA spokeswoman Colleen O'Brien said in a statement.

By August 2014, SeaWorld said it would build new, larger environments for its marine mammals and fund additional research and conservation efforts. The project has yet to get off the ground.

Last October, the California Coastal Commission approved a $100 million expansion of SeaWorld's tanks for its orcas in San Diego but also banned breeding of the captive animals. SeaWorld said it would end the orca shows in San Diego by 2017, and the company also filed a lawsuit saying the California commission had overreached when it banned breeding at that park.

SeaWorld hasn't been alone in dealing with the public outrage that followed "Blackfish" and the 2009 documentary "The Cove," which showed the killing of dolphins in Japan. The National Aquarium in Baltimore announced in 2014 that it would explore retiring its eight dolphins to an oceanside sanctuary, and elected officials in some California cities passed resolutions stating that whales and dolphins have the right to freedom from captivity.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who introduced the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act in 2015, applauded SeaWorld's announcement Thursday.

"These changes are something that advocates have been urging for years, and I think SeaWorld will find that visitors will reward their actions with a renewed interest in the parks," Schiff said in a statement Thursday.

___

Associated Press writer Jennifer Kay in Miami contributed this report.



 

 

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SEAWORLD_KILLER_WHALE_BREEDING_TXOL-?SITE=GAATH&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

 

 

SeaWorld says it will end killer whale breeding program

By FREIDA FRISARO
Associated Press

 

MIAMI (AP) -- SeaWorld announced Thursday it is ending its practice of killer whale breeding following years of controversy over keeping orcas in captivity.

In a statement released Thursday morning, the company said the breeding program will end immediately. It also announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States.

The company also said it is ending theatrical shows at its parks and will introduce "new, inspiring natural orca encounters." The new shows will begin next year at the SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s San Diego park, before expanding to its San Antonio park and then to the Orlando park in 2019.

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

The company said its partnership with the Humane Society will help educate guests on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretive programs at the parks and by expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals and other marine creatures.

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society.

Criticism over keeping killer whales in captivity increased in 2010 after a killer whale named Tilikum grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau after a "Dine with Shamu" show and pulled her into the pool, killing her. The death was highlighted in a documentary titled "Blackfish." Tilikum, who was also involved in the deaths of two others, is now very sick. He has been at SeaWorld Orlando for 23 years.

 



 

 

http://www.today.com/video/sea-world-says-no-more-killer-whales-but-what-does-that-really-mean-646457923733

 

Sea World says no more killer whales, but what does that really mean?

(click link for video)

 

SeaWorld has announced that the company will stop breeding the iconic killer whales that have been the center of its shows, and the center of controversy. NBC News investigative correspondent Ronan Farrow talks with SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby about the announcement, and how the whales will still have a presence at the parks.

 


 

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/seaworld-end-breeding-program-orca-whales-n540646

 

 

SeaWorld to End Breeding Program for Killer Whales

by Alastair Jamieson

SeaWorld announced Thursday it will end its killer whale breeding programs and take a "new direction" amid changing social attitudes.

The company said the 24 orcas it currently has in three parks would be SeaWorld's last generation, a long awaited move following intense criticism from animal-rights campaigners over keeping the whales in captivity.

"SeaWorld has been listening and we're changing," the company said in a statement. "Society is changing and we're changing with it. SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guests to take action to protect wild animals and wild places."

Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld, wrote in an op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times that its existing whales would remain in captivity because setting them free in the wild was "not a wise option."

"Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives," he wrote. "If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die."

Manby said the SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades and that this would be "the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care."

The 24 orcas SeaWorld currently has are at parks in California, Texas and Florida.

Last year, SeaWorld announced it was ending its orca shows — a move which drew muted praise from lawmakers and activists.

The company has been under pressure about its orcas since the 2013 release of the documentary "Blackfish," which argued that placing the whales in captivity made them violent, neurotic and decreased their life span.

Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute said SeaWorld's decision was "a monumental and important first step forward in achieving a more humane business model."

The theme park was also feeling pressure from authorities. California's Coastal Commission last year approved a $100 million expansion at SeaWorld San Diego but only on the condition that it ended captive breeding at that facility — a ruling that CEO Manby at the time described as "inhumane."

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) described Thursday's announcement as a "payoff" from its campaigns to change SeaWorld's policies.

However, it said: "Today is the day to stop breeding, not sometime later this year. SeaWorld must open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks."




 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/sea-world-announces-end-killer-whale-shows-37713204

 

Sea World Announces End to Killer Whale Shows

(click link for video)

 


 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/seaworld-end-orca-breeding-program/story?id=37712730

 

SeaWorld to End Orca Breeding Program

Mar 17, 2016, 11:41 AM ET

SeaWorld is ending its controversial killer whale breeding programs, the theme park operator said in a statement today.

Its treatment of the orcas has come under fierce criticism since the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish.”

"SeaWorld has been listening and we’re changing,” the statement said. “Society is changing and we’re changing with it. SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guests to take action to protect wild animals and wild places.”

It’s changing the breeding policy, as of today, but none of the 29 orcas in SeaWorld’s care will be released, according to the statement.

 “The best place for them is at SeaWorld. ... No whale born under human care has been released successfully,” company CEO Joel Manby said.

“These majestic orcas will not be released into the ocean, nor confined to sea cages. They could not survive in oceans to compete for food, be exposed to unfamiliar diseases or to have to deal with environmental concerns – including pollution and other man-made threats.

“Instead, they will live long and healthy lives under love and care of our dedicated veterinary and other trained specialists where they can inspire this and future generations to be conservationists around the world through natural presentations that are fun, exiting and will educate guests about the plight of orcas in the wild.”

SeaWorld has operations in Florida, Texas and California.

That includes SeaWorld Orlando, where trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by popular orca Tilikum in 2010.

“That was a very horrific moment for our company,” Manby said. “Dawn's death is something none of us will ever get over.”

Manby also acknowledged that “Blackfish” did have an impact, saying “whether it’s a movie, whether it’s customers riding us, there is no doubt the mindset of society has changed. I think we have to change with it.”

But SeaWorld hopes the announcement and a new partnership with the Humane Society, previously one of the company’s loudest critic, will “signal a new direction.”

“It’s not perfect, we do have disagreements, but don’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good,” Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle said in a statement released today.

“Today’s announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end and that SeaWorld will redouble its work around rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals in crisis and partner with us to tackle global threats to marine creatures.”

The company had announced last year that it would be phasing out its killer whale shows in 2016 and replacing them with a new orca experience at its San Diego park.




 

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/seaworld-and-humane-society-ceos-on-ending-orca-breeding/

 

SeaWorld and Humane Society CEOs on ending orca breeding

March 17, 2016, 7:34 AM | SeaWorld announced the whales in its care will be the last generation of orcas at the wildlife theme park chain. SeaWorld president and CEO Joel Manby and Humane Society of the United States president and CEO Wayne Pacelle join “CBS This Morning” in their first live interview about a new partnership between the two groups.

(click link for video)

 


 

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4805266176001/seaworld-announces-end-to-its-captive-orca-breeding-program/?playlist_id=938973798001#sp=show-clips

 

SeaWorld announces end to its captive orca breeding program

Mar. 17, 2016 - 5:33 - Killer whale show to be phased out over next three years

(click link for video)

http://www.snappytv.com/tc/1567123

 

(click link for video)

 


 

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/17/us/seaworld-last-generation-of-orcas/index.html

 

SeaWorld says current generation of killer whales at parks will be its last

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 6:29 AM ET, Thu March 17, 2016



 



2015: SeaWorld nixes  killer whale shows based on 'feedback'

 

2015: SeaWorld nixes killer whale shows based on 'feedback' 03:55

(CNN)The killer whales currently in SeaWorld's care will be the last generation of the mammals enclosed at the water parks, according to a company announcement posted on its website.

"Why the big news? SeaWorld has been listening and we're changing. Society is changing and we're changing with it," the company said. "SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guest to take action to protect wild animals and wild places."

The company has come under fire for its treatment of killer whales since the 2013 CNN documentary "Blackfish." That film profiled one of its whales, Tilikum, who has been involved in the deaths of three people, including SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

Reports recently surfaced that Tilikum may be dying. He is estimated to be 35 years old.

"The orcas will continue to live at SeaWorld for many years to come, inspiring guests in new and natural ways," the company said. "They will continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science and zoological best practices."

In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Joel Manby, SeaWorld's president and CEO, called the situation a "paradox."

"Customers visit our marine parks, in part, to watch orcas," he said. "But a growing number of people don't think orcas belong in human care."

He announced that the company is partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to advocate for ocean wildlife protection.

The company says the end of the controversial breeding program is just one of changes it is hailing as "historic."

It will also introduce new "natural orca encounters" instead of the old theatrical shows.




http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/17/seaworld-announces-it-has-stopped-breeding-orcas.html

SeaWorld announces it has stopped breeding orcas

Matt Clinch | @mattclinch81

Killer whale Tilikum appears during a performance in the show  "Believe" at SeaWorld on March 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.

Getty Images

Killer whale Tilikum appears during a performance in the show "Believe" at SeaWorld on March 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.

SeaWorld Entertainment is to end the breeding of orcas - or killer whales - following continued criticism from animal rights activists.

Its current family of orcas will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld, it announced Thursday, and will instead offer "new, inspiring, natural orca encounters" as part of an ongoing commitment to "education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals."

<p>SeaWorld ends killer whale show</p> <p>SeaWorld Entertainment is killing its signature Shamu show in San Diego amid criticism from animal rights activists.</p>

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, said in a statement.

"By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

The OrlandoFlorida-based company also reaffirmed its commitment not to collect marine mammals from the wild and announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of HSUS commended the company in the SeaWorld press release for making a "game-changing commitment" and said the two organizations would be working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues.

Late last year, SeaWorld announced that its signature Shamu show in San Diego would be phased out amid criticism and the threat of legislation to ban the public orca shows. A few weeks later, SeaWorld filed a lawsuit challenging a California commission's ruling that banned the theme park from breeding captive orcas at its San Diego park.

—Associated Press and CNBC's Jeff Daniels contributed to this article.



http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/03/17/seaworld-announces-end-to-captive-orca-whale-breeding.html

SeaWorld announces end to captive orca whale breeding

Published March 17, 2016

March 19, 2014:  Visitors are greeted by an Orca killer whale as they attend a show  featuring the whales during a visit to the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, Calif.

March 19, 2014: Visitors are greeted by an Orca killer whale as they attend a show featuring the whales during a visit to the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, Calif. (REUTERS/Mike Blake )

SeaWorld will stop breeding killer whales, also known as orcas, in captivity, the theme park company announced Thursday. 

In a statement, SeaWorld Entertainment said that the current generation of orcas in its care would not be replaced. The statement added that the company would replace its popular theatrical shows featuring killer whales with "new, inspiring, natural orca encounters ... as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals."

The company said the shows would be phased out at all three of its parks over the next three years. SeaWorld currently operates in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando.

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, said in a statement. "As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it."

SeaWorld's treatment of captive killer whales gained national attention as the subject of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish", which argued that killer whales become more aggressive to humans and each other when in captivity. The documentary's focus was Tilikum, who pulled SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau into a pool in 2010, causing the woman's death. 

After the documentary's release in 2013, several entertainers pulled out of planned performances at SeaWorld parks amid criticism from animal rights activists, and Southwest Airlines ended its 25-year marketing partnership with the theme park company.

In a statement, "Blackfish" director Gabriela Cowperthwaite called SeaWorld's policy change "a defining moment" of "truly meaningful change."

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement.




 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/17/470720804/seaworld-agrees-to-end-captive-breeding-of-killer-whales

 

SeaWorld Agrees To End Captive Breeding Of Killer Whales

Updated March 17, 20166:07 AM ET Published March 17, 20165:59 AM ET

In a major concession to critics and animal welfare groups, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc., says it will stop breeding captive killer whales.

SeaWorld's treatment of its killer whales, or orcas, was put in the spotlight three years ago by Blackfish, a documentary that examined the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an orca named Tilikum. Since then, in a steady campaign on social media, critics have demanded SeaWorld end its orca breeding program.

In an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States, SeaWorld says it now will do so. In a news release, HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle said, "Today's announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end."

SeaWorld president and CEO Joel Manby said in the same news release, "As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations— so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go."

The director of Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite called it "a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change."

For SeaWorld, the agreement resolves an issue that has held up expansion of the company's San Diego theme park. Last year, Manby said that theatrical orca shows would be phased out at the park, Aquatica by SeaWorld.

Plans for a new, expanded killer whale habitat were submitted for approval to a state regulatory body, the California Coastal Commission. The commission gave its approval, but only if the theme park agreed to end captive breeding of orcas. SeaWorld went to court, arguing in a lawsuit the commission doesn't have the authority or the expertise to make such a demand.

But with today's announcement, SeaWorld is now agreeing to end captive breeding, not just in San Diego, but also at its two other Aquatica by Seaworld parks, in San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Fla. It is a major concession that also signals a change in SeaWorld's business model.

On the company's blog, SeaWorld announced it is phasing out over the next three years theatrical performances featuring orcas.

We will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals.

SeaWorld has seen attendance decline at its three Aquatica parks since the release of Blackfish. The company says the decline, in part, is because of the film. The stock price of the publicly-traded company has dropped by more than half in the past three years.

Industry analysts say SeaWorld needs new attractions to compete with other theme parks, such as Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Universal Studios Theme Parks. SeaWorld has several new roller coasters in the works and recently unveiled images of a new signature submarine ride it's planning in San Diego.

By ending captive breeding, SeaWorld is moving toward a future that eventually will no longer include orcas.

In what might be seen as an ironic twist, the announcement comes as SeaWorld and animal welfare activists are closely monitoring the health of Tilikum. SeaWorld says the orca appears to have a bacterial infection in its lungs that is resistant to treatment and that its health is "deteriorating." Tilikum has been with SeaWorld 23 years and is one of the park's most prolific breeders, siring more than 20 calves.




 

http://www.eonline.com/news/749472/seaworld-to-end-killer-whale-breeding-program-what-does-this-mean-for-visitors

 

SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Breeding Program: What Does This Mean for Visitors?

by Corinne Heller Thu, Mar 17, 2016 11:16 AM

Tilikum, SeaWorld, Sea World, Killer WhaleGerardo Mora/Getty Images

SeaWorld announced Thursday it will stop breeding killer whales, following years of pressure from animal rights groups and supporters, effective immediately. But what does this mean for visitors?

In addition to ending its breeding program, SeaWorld is phasing out its signature killer whale theatrical stunt shows and will replace them with "new, inspiring, natural orca encounters" that will focus on "orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health," the group said in a statement. The change will be implemented in its San Diego theme park in 2017 and in its parks in San Antonio and Orlando throughout the next two years. SeaWorld had announced its San Diego plans last year.

"It doesn't sound like they're actually phasing out their killer whale shows at all," former SeaWorld trainer Sam Berg said on the Today show.

The orcas who still live at the theme parks will remain there for the rest of their lives. A killer whale can typically life in the wild from 50 to 80 years, according to the National Marine Mammal Laboratory. There are conflicting figures regarding the lifespan of orcas in captivity, which is typically lower.

"We have one whale today that's 42 years old, we have one whale that's just, hasn't been born yet," SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby told NBC News investigative correspondent Ronan Farrow, as seen on the Today show. "There will be no more new orcas."

For years, animal rights activists and supporters, including celebs such as Pamela AndersonSteve-O and Joanna Krupa, have criticized the company over its treatment of its captive mammals, who take part in stunt shows seen by thousands of people every day at SeaWorld theme parks.

In 2015, the group launched a "SeaWorld Cares" campaign to set the "record straight on false accusations by activists who oppose whales and other animals in zoological settings," but criticism continued. In February, SeaWorld announced that while attendance rose slightly over the past year, the company suffered a loss of $11 million in the fourth quarter. Amid news about the whale breeding program, SeaWorld's shares rose as much as 6 percent Thursday morning.

Public opinion of SeaWorld also decreased after the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which focused on Tilikum, a famous orca held by SeaWorld who involved in the deaths of three people during his time in captivity. Last week, the company announced the whale has a drug-resistant bacterial lung infection and is dying.

"I would never admit that the care of our animals was poor," Manby said. "There are a lot of factors that have changed people's opinions. Film is one of them."

SeaWorld also announced Thursday a new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of the group's biggest critics.

SeaWorld's plan to end its killer whale breeding program marks "a major step forward toward a humane economy in which corporations respond and adapt to public concerns over animal welfare," HSUS said in a statement.

"Today's announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end and that SeaWorld will redouble its work around rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals in crisis and partner with us to tackle global threats to marine creatures," said HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle.

Following SeaWorld's announcement, many animal rights activists have called on the company to release the orcas living at the theme parks into coastal sanctuaries. The group says whales raised or born in captivity are like to die in the wild.

"We feel it's a very risky environment to do that," Manby said.

He said in a HSUS statement, "SeaWorld takes seriously its responsibility to preserve marine wildlife. As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations—so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go. Together with HSUS, and with our 20 million guests and 20,000 employees we can build an army of advocates to protect animals and wild places."




 

 

http://fortune.com/2016/03/17/seaworld-stop-breeding-killer-whales/

 

SeaWorld Makes the Historic Decision to Stop Breeding Killer Whales

Claire Zillman

March 17, 2016, 8:27 AM EDT

It’s the most dramatic response to ‘Blackfish’ yet.

In a concession to its critics and animal activists, SeaWorld Entertainment on Thursday announced that its current generation of orcas, also known as killer whales, will be its last.

“The company will end all orca breeding as of today,” the company said in a statement.

SeaWorld SEAS 9.35% also said it will launch a new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States to protect the oceans and marine life.

“SeaWorld’s commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society.

SeaWorld has been trying to stage a comeback ever since the release of the documentary Blackfish three years ago that chronicled the devastating effects of keeping orcas in captivity. Critics staged boycotts, and ticket sales plummeted in the film’s aftermath. Last year, revenue declined 0.5%. Overall attendance grew 0.3% compared to 2014, when it dropped 4%.

Incremental changes to SeaWorld’s orca exhibit preceded Thursday’s announcement. In November, the company announced that it was ending its live killer whale show in favor of an “orca experience” set to debut next year that the company said will have a message of conservation. Earlier this month, SeaWorld said that Tilikum, the ocra responsible for killing two SeaWorld trainers, is dying. And in February, the company announced an overhaul of its management team.

Thursday’s announcement means that SeaWorld will no longer feature killer whales once its current population dies out. That could be decades from now since one orca, Takara, became pregnant last year, and orcas can live for 30 to 100 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. SeaWorld said it’s still committed to not collecting marine mammals from the wild.

In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby credited his company’s theme parks for educating the American public about killer whales.

When the first SeaWorld Park opened in 1964, orcas, or killer whales, were not universally loved, to put it mildly. Instead, they were feared, hated and even hunted. Half a century later, orcas are among the most popular marine mammals on the planet. One reason: People came to SeaWorld and learned about orcas up close.

SeaWorld must now respond to the “attitudinal change” that it helped to create, Manby said—hence the historic decision to end its breeding programs. “Because SeaWorld hasn’t collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld’s care.”

Manby also issued a wider call to action to protect the world’s wildlife. He said that “poaching, pollution, unsustainable human development and man-made disasters such as oil spills” are the real enemies of wildlife, not zoos and aquariums. “Governments cannot address this crisis alone. We need concerned individuals to take action, as well as nongovernmental organizations. And, yes, the private sector also has to join in addressing this problem.”




http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/03/17/seaworld_ends_theatrical_orca_shows_and_breeding_program.html


SeaWorld Is Finally Ending Its Orca Breeding Program Because It Has No Other Choice

By Rachel E. Gross
March 17, 2016


SeaWorld, benevolent protector of all wildlife, has some big news: The theme park will be ending its theatrical orca shows for good, as well as its captive orca breeding program. “SeaWorld has been listening and we’re changing,” the company wrote on its blog on Thursday. “The whales currently in our care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld.”

Starting Thursday, SeaWorld will end captive breading in its San Diego park; its parks in San Antonio and Orlando, Florida, will follow suit in 2019. The theme park worked with former foe the Humane Society of the United States to develop its new policies and will be partnering with them in the future. “By ending captive breeding, SeaWorld is moving toward a future that eventually will no longer include orcas,” reports NPR.

Also big news: SeaWorld was the good guy all along, according to SeaWorld president and CEO Joel Manby. Think about it: Before SeaWorld, no one even liked orcas. We’ve helped make orcas among the most beloved marine mammals on the planet,” Manby said in a company statement.

"We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world's largest marine mammals,” writes Manby in an op-ed Thursday in the Los Angeles Times. "Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create,” he says, attributing that change to enlightenment that arose as “people came to Sea World and learned about orcas up close."

In other words: It’s thanks to SeaWorld that animal rights groups started paying attention to orca welfare in the first place—which, in turn, caused them to realize that SeaWorld was a rather poor steward of its orcas and protest the park. Pat yourself on the back, SeaWorld!

So, how to make sense of this decision? In short, SeaWorld is ending its orca program because it has to. In the past three years, the park has seen shrinking crowds, plummeting profits, and lawsuits leveled against their business practices. Much of this response was catalyzed by the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which argued that the park’s poor treatment of Tilikum, a killer whale, led to the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. That movie, in the words of its director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, “sucker punched a beloved cultural icon.”

Three years later, and SeaWorld is not so beloved. It's become the favorite target of animal rights groups like PETA, which has waged a steady online campaign against it, and has drawn criticism for the early deaths of its whales and other sea animals. Last month, the park finally admitted toplanting decoy protesters in animal rights demonstrations to incite violence. In 2014, it had its plans to expand its San Diego park thwarted by the California Coastal Commission, which told SeaWorld it could only expand if it stopped breeding orcas.

Last year, SeaWorld caved and agreed to phase out its theatrical orca shows in San Diego. But with Thursday’s decision, SeaWorld agrees to end theatrical shows at all parks and put an end to an era of orca captivity, marking a major shift in the company’s direction and “a defining moment” according to Cowperthwaite. 

Still, not everyone is satisfied. PETA wants SeaWorld to release its 29 remaining captive orcas, for instance. But to do so would endanger those whales, who are no longer fit for life in the wild, says SeaWorld. Instead, the remaining orcas——including Tilikum, who is sick and near the end of his lifeafter spending 23 years at SeaWorld—will live out the rest of their lives under the “love and care” of the park’s specialists

So what will those orcas be doing all day—and what what will be replacing SeaWorld’s theatrical shows? Get ready for “the introduction of new, inspiring, natural orca encounters” featuring the park’s remaining orcas, as Jordan Weissmann reported in Slate last November. In these shows, whales will no longer be performing tricks for human entertainment. According to SeaWorld’s blog:

No longer a theatrical show, this live presentation will have the feel of an engaging documentary centered on the orca’s natural behaviors, physical attributes, intelligence, social structures and unique relationship with mankind … Everything will reflect the natural world and will focus on the research, education, care and respect that aligns with our mission to advance the well-being and conservation of these beautiful creatures. 

Translation: Please, please, please come back to SeaWorld.

 




 

 

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/news/a55371/seaworld-to-stop-orca-breeding/

 

SeaWorld Is Ending Its Orca Breeding Program for Good

And will slowly phase out the ​theatrical show. 

By Danielle Tullo

Mar 17, 2016

SeaWorld's President and CEO Joel Manby wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday announcing that the park is going to end its controversial breeding program effective immediately and will be phasing out the theatrical orca whale shows. 

We need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create — which is why SeaWorld is announcing several historic changes. This year we will end all orca breeding programs — and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care. We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows.

Since the release of the documentary Blackfish in 2013, which focused on the treatment of orcas and a trainer who was killed by an orca named Tilikum during a show, the park has struggled with profits and attendance. 

The Humane Society of the United States is happy with SeaWorld's new policies, but PETA U.K. director Mimi Bekhechi told BuzzFeed News that SeaWorld should open its tanks to the oceans to let the captive orcas have a life outside of the tanks. 

Anticipating such responses, Manby wrote, "Some critics want us to go even further; they want us to 'set free' the orcas currently in our care. But that's not a wise option." He said since most of the orcas were born at SeaWorld, they would likely die if they were released into the ocean. 

With this announcement, Manby also said that SeaWorld will be working with the Humane Society to serve only sustainable seafood and raise awareness of animal welfare. 

Manby ended his op-ed saying, "SeaWorld will continue to create the constituency for conversation, just as we helped to inspire the changing attitudes that, in turn, inspired our company's changing policies." 




 

 

http://www.glamour.com/inspired/blogs/the-conversation/2016/03/seaworld-announces-it-will-sto

 

Finally: SeaWorld Announces It Will Stop Breeding Orcas

By Jillian Kramer

Since the 2013 release of Blackfish, the documentary about the inhumane treatment of captive killer whales, the public has been pressuring SeaWorld to end its orca breeding program and stop abusing the whales by keeping them in captivity. Today the water park has finally announced it will finally do it.

"This year we will end all orca breeding programs—and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care," SeaWorld's Joel Manby wrote in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. The park reached an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States. "We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows."

Previously, SeaWorld had sought approval from the California Coastal Commission to expand its orca exhibit, but the regulatory body would only grant permission if the waterpark agreed to end captive breeding of orcas. SeaWorld originally fought the decision in a lawsuit—but with today's announcement, the company is making some changes. SeaWorld will end its captive breeding not only in its San Diego water park but also at its locations in San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Fla.

Manby says SeaWorld will also work with the Humane Society to "increase its focus on rescue operations—so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go." SeaWorld has faced sharply declining revenues and large protests since Blackfish became a documentary film phenomenon.

As far as the orcas already living at SeaWorld parks, there will be no Free Willy moments; they will remain in captivity. "That's not a wise option," Manby writes. "Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives. If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die. … For as long as they live, the orcas at SeaWorld will stay in our parks."



 

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/seaworld-to-stop-breeding-killer-whales-20160317

 

SeaWorld to Stop Breeding Killer Whales

Amusement park partners with Humane Society following years of widespread criticism

By Kory Grow March 17, 2016

SeaWorld has decided to end its orca-breeding program following years of criticism about how the animals are kept in captivity. The company, which operates a number of amusement parks around the country, announced Thursday that the change would go into effect immediately, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and that it had partnered with the Humane Society of the United States.

The company said it would also expand its previously announced "new orca experience" planned for San Diego next year to some of its other locations. SeaWorld will introduce "natural orca encounter" in San Antonio and Orlando in 2019. THR reports that the Humane Society partnership will focus on educating park visitors on animal welfare and conservation.

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," Joel Manby, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.'s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

The company's previous changes to its orca program followed governmental scrutiny regarding captive breeding on both the state and federal level. It also seemed to come in response to the backlash sparked by Blackfish, a 2013 documentary about how keeping killer whales in captivity was dangerous to both the animals and humans. Spokespeople for SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. said in November that the company intended to challenge the laws about how it bred animals.

PETA spokespersons commented on SeaWorld's advancements on Twitter. "SeaWorld must open tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside their prison tanks," said one tweet. "SeaWorld has taken a step forward but more must come," saidanother.




 

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosebuchanan/seaworld-to-end-its-controversial-orca-breeding-program?utm_term=.domd6x5wP3#.kcBg7xEoyJ

 

SeaWorld To End Its Controversial Orca Breeding Program

The company said Thursday that it will no longer breed the orcas in captivity and will phase out its theatrical shows.

Mar. 17, 2016, at 7:06 a.m.

SeaWorld will end its controversial orca breeding program effective immediately, the company announced on Thursday.

The decision follows the California Coastal Commission’s decision in October last year to ban the U.S. animal park from breeding any captive whales, a decision the company had previously called “overreaching” and promised to fight in the courts.

In addition to shutting down its breeding facilities for good, SeaWorld also confirmed it would phase out its theatrical killer whale shows in San Diego from 2017, followed by the shows in San Antonio and then Orlando by 2019.

The company said it planned to replace these shows with “new inspiring, natural orca encounters.”

“As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it,” Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, wrote in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

He added: “By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

But the company also said it would not release any of the orcas back into the wild.

“Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives,” Manby wrote. “If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die.”

SeaWorld has struggled with attendance and profitability since the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which focused on the parks’ treatment of orcas after one of its whales killed a veteran trainer in 2010.

A SeaWorld trainer performs with a killer whale in 2010. Phelan Ebenhack / AP

The share price of SeaWorld, valued at $33.52 when the company went public in April 2013, was $17.12 on Thursday.

Animal rights groups, which have long campaigned against the captivity of Orca whales, welcomed the company’s decision.

But Mimi Bekhechi, PETA UK director, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News: “SeaWorld must open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks.”

The Humane Society of the United States, which worked with SeaWorld on these new policies, praised its reforms as a major step forward.

“Today’s announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end and that SeaWorld will redouble its work around rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals in crisis and partner with us to tackle global threats to marine creatures,” said Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society president and CEO.




 

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2016/03/sea-world-orcas/474189/

 

The End of SeaWorld's Orca-Breeding Program

The theme park says the killer whales in its care will be its last generation.

http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2016/03/AP_302476494474/lead_large.jpg?1458215733

There’s big news this morning from SeaWorld:

The move comes, in part, because of the backlash directed at the theme park following Blackfish, the 2013 documentary that alleged that orcas are suffering in confinement at the water parks. Subsequently, attendance at SeaWorld dropped and the company faced continued protests. The controversy prompted the resignation of Jim Atchison, SeaWorld’s CEO, in 2014.

In a statement on its website on Thursday, SeaWorld acknowledged that “[s]ociety is changing and we’re changing with it.”  

Twenty-three of SeaWorld’s orcas were born in captivity at the theme park; a few have spent nearly their entire lives in human care. SeaWorld stopped the live capture of orcas from the wild decades ago.

Under the new plan, the orcas will spend the rest of their days at SeaWorld’s facilities because, the theme park said, “[t]hey could not survive in oceans to compete for food, be exposed to unfamiliar diseases or to have to deal with environmental concerns—including pollution and other man-made threats.”

Joel Manby, SeaWorld’s current CEO, said the organization would now “increase … [its] focus on rescue operations.”

SeaWorld worked on its policy with the Humane Society of the United States, which called the announcement “a major step forward toward a humane economy.”

Thursday’s announcement follows one in November in which SeaWorld announced it would end its “theatrical killer whale experience” at its flagship theme park in San Diego.



 

 

http://www.vox.com/latest-news/2016/3/17/11256958/seaworld-killer-whales

 

Blackfish won: SeaWorld will stop holding killer whales captive

Michelle Hackman

In a huge concession to animal rights groups, SeaWorld has announced it will no longer breed its famed killer whales in captivity.

SeaWorld’s treatment of its killer whales, or orcas, first came to broad public attention with the 2013 release of the documentary film Blackfish, which chronicled the death of an orca trainer named Dawn Brancheau and the negative impact captivity has on the animals.

Since the movie’s debut, critics have been demanding that SeaWorld end its captive breeding program. The public pressure has hurt the company: In the three years since the movie’s release, the number of visitors to SeaWorld’s parks has dropped, and its stock price has fallen by more than half.

Now, in a joint announcement with the Humane Society, the theme park owner has succumbed to the pressure. But why is captive breeding so bad, and what does this mean for SeaWorld going forward?

Blackfish, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, focuses mainly on the captivity of the orca Tilikum, who was involved in the deaths of three people. The movie is bookended with footage from the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau, Tilikum’s trainer, though the clip cuts off moments before Tilikum attacks and drags her underwater.

The film makes the case that Tilikum’s aggression stems directly from his life in captivity. It includes details from his capture — off the coast of Iceland — and focuses on several incidents where several other captive orcas ganged up on him, when the animals were being held together in a 20-by-30-foot pool.

SeaWorld — which has long made theatrical orca shows a central attraction in its water parks — depicts orcas as peaceful animals that have only hurt humans in attempts to be playful with them. The filmmakers disagree. They make the case that in the wild, orcas don’t exhibit particularly harmful behavior, but in captivity they become "hyper aggressive."

In the case of Brancheau’s death, SeaWorld officials argued that Tilikum targeted the trainer because she was wearing a ponytail, an explanation for the attack that the film clearly finds unsatisfying.

Of course, the evidence Blackfish puts forward — including both environmental and genetic explanations for orca aggression — should be treated skeptically. It is a documentary with a clear agenda, after all, and numerous scientists and other experts have disputed evidence used in the movie. But the important thing to note is that, whether accurate or not, the movie supplanted the idea that keeping orcas captive makes them hyper aggressive. Thus, captivity is both cruel to the animals and unsafe for humans around them.

SeaWorld has argued for years that in continuing its program of holding orcas in captivity, it was helping to conserve the species and care for individual orcas who are injured or otherwise unfit to live in the wild.

The problem with this claim is that there seems to be little conservation benefit to capturing so many orcas and not releasing them or their offspring.

For one thing, orcas are not an endangered species. Holding them captive for long periods of time may actually prevent them from developing natural instincts, a harmful disadvantage were they to be released back into the wild.

For that reason, studies performed on captive whales probably can’t be extrapolated to apply to all whales, given their highly controlled environment.

There is also no evidence that captive orcas live any longer than wild ones. Both can be expected to live an average of 30 years for males and 50 years for females.

So the benefits of keeping orcas in enclosed pools is quite limited, other than their potential for commercial profit. In SeaWorld’s announcement, the company emphasized its commitment to animal welfare — essentially conceding this point.

SeaWorld currently has 29 orcas in its care. It does not plan to release them back into the wild, arguing that they would not have the skills to compete for food or the immune systems to deal with new diseases or man-made pollutants.

But the company has promised that it will discontinue breeding its orcas and stop obtaining new ones, meaning that its current set is the last generation to be housed at SeaWorld. In a sad coda to their orca program, Tilikum is now ill with an incurable lung disease.

SeaWorld has also promised that it will phase out its theatrical orca shows, in favor of displays that will introduce future visitors to more "natural" orca behavior. Those shows are expected to begin in 2017.

While the announcement means the water parks won’t see immediate changes, it does signal a real pivot in strategy.

"Society is changing and we’re changing with it," the park’s statement read. "SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guest to take action to protect wild animals and wild places."



 

 

http://elitedaily.com/news/seaworld-stop-breeding-killer-whales/1424834/

 

SeaWorld Just Announced It’s Going To Stop Breeding Killer Whales

Mar 17, 2016 11:26am

SeaWorld announced it will no longer breed killer whales, making its current generation of the mammals the park’s last.

The move was announced on the company’s website and explained more thoroughly in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times written by SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby.

Last November, Manby declared killer whale shows would be phased out of its San Diego park by 2017 and replaced by attractions geared toward conservation.

The 2013 documentary “Blackfish” reportedly triggered a decline in revenue for SeaWorld, and the majority of the public seems to vehemently object to orca captivity in general.

In its announcement, SeaWorld said,

Why the big news? SeaWorld has been listening and we’re changing. Society is changing and we’re changing with it. SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guest[s] to take action to protect wild animals and wild places.

Legislation was proposed to make capturing orcas illegal, and the California Coastal Commission began an effort to ban orca breeding at SeaWorld last year, Manby noted in the op-ed.

He also discussed why it will not be possible for its current killer whales to be released into the ocean.

He wrote,

Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives. If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die. In fact, no orca or dolphin born under human care has ever survived release into the wild.

Releasing the animals would put them at risk for exposure to disease, man-made environmental obstructions and starvation due to an inability to compete for food. The company’s killer whales will, therefore, continue to be cared for until they die at SeaWorld, which said it had not captured an orca from the wild in nearly 40 years.

Instead of pure entertainment, the orcas will be involved in “natural presentations that are fun, exiting and will educate guests about the plight of orcas in the wild,” SeaWorld said.

Protecting marine wildlife from pollution and hunting alongside the Humane Society of the United States will be the company’s new primary focus, according to Manby.

Rescue operations will be increased for marine mammals such as dolphins and sea lions, and the two companies will work together to stop shark finning as well.




 

 http://time.com/4262536/seaworld-orca-breeding/

 

SeaWorld to End Orca Breeding Amid Company Makeover

The decision comes after years of declining attendance

SeaWorld will end its iconic killer whale shows and stop breeding the animal following years of controversy over the company’s practices, the company announced Thursday.

The company’s move drew immediate praise from conservation groups that for years have argued that killer whales bred and housed at SeaWorld were mistreated. Still, SeaWorld rebuffed demands that it release whales living at its parks into the wild, arguing that most have spent their entire lives in captivity and could not survive elsewhere. Instead SeaWorld will move the whales to settings meant to replicate “natural” habitats that focus on “orca enrichment, exercise and overall health.”

“These decisions — and the debates that preceded them — are about more than these orcas,” said SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby in an op-ed published after the announcement. “Bigger questions are at stake than whether any animals anywhere should remain under human care.”

PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi welcomed SeaWorld’s decision: “PETA has campaigned hard, and now there is a payoff for future generations of orcas – but today is the day to stop breeding, not sometime later this year. SeaWorld must open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks.”

The company also announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States focused on protecting marine life that includes fighting against the commercial killing of whales and efforts to protect coral reefs.

The decision—which follows a shakeup of the company’s executive leadership team—comes after years of waning park attendance and declining stock prices at least in part driven by the documentary Blackfish’s portrayal of how the company treats killer whales.



 

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/seaworld-ending-killer-whales-ownership-2016-3

 

SeaWorld is going to stop breeding killer whales

Bob Bryan

Mike Blake/ReutersTrainers have Orca killer whales perform for the crowd during a show at the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, California March 19, 2014.

SeaWorld Entertainment announced early Thursday that the company's current generation of orcas will be its last, according to a release from the company.

"SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that the killer whales – or orcas – currently in the company's care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld," said the release. "The company will end all orca breeding as of today."

The move comes after years of scrutiny about the treatment of the animals in its parks following the documentary Blackfish in 2013.

Most recently, a ruling in California found that SeaWorld was no longer allowed to breed whales at its San Diego park. The company decided to phase out theatrical shows with whales in the state.

"As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it," said CEO Joe Manby in the release. "By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

The company also announced that it will be ending its current theatrical shows and instead allow parkgoers to have "inspiring, natural orca encounters." This shift will be done in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States.

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS in the release. "Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities."

In the years following the documentary, the company has endured everything from boy band member Harry Styles of One Direction called for a boycott to the revelation that one of the company's employee was going undercover to infiltrate animal rights group PETA.

In reaction, attendance, profits, and the company's stock have all spiraled downwards.

Manby also stressed in the release that SeaWorld is committed to becoming a leading animal protection group.

"The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals," he said. "To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world's leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning."

According to the release, one of the company's female orcas is now pregnant, and since orcas can live up to 50 years, SeaWorld may have the animals for many years still.

***


 

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/03/17/seaworld-ends-orca-breeding-theatrical-shows


SeaWorld announces end of orca theatrical shows, will no longer breed killer whales

by Jonathon Dornbush • @jmdornbush

Posted March 17 2016 — 8:50 AM EDT

Several months after SeaWorld stated its intention to have the San Diego location phase out orca-centric shows at the park, the organization has announced a new company-wide focus to end both the traditional theatrical killer whale shows and breeding of the orcas.

SeaWorld made the official announcement on Thursday, billing these changes as “new vision for SeaWorld that will help us deliver on our mission that every guest who walks through our doors will be inspired to take action to help protect wild animals and wild places.”

The main shifts going forward include an end to captive breeding of orcas – the orca whales currently living at SeaWorld locations will be the last ones to do so. These killer whales at SeaWorld will not be kept in sea cages or let loose into the ocean because, “they could not survive in oceans to compete for food, be exposed to unfamiliar diseases or to have to deal with environmental concerns.”

This final generation of killer whales at these parks will also no longer be shown off to parkgoers via traditional shows. Instead, SeaWorld promises to “introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals.” This initiative includes revamping the current show pools and viewing areas into “a more naturalistic setting,” where guests will still have a chance to watch the orcas. The first park to receive this change will be the San Diego location next year, followed by San Antonio, Texas and then Orlando, Florida in 2019.

SeaWorld previously announced the phasing out of orca shows at its San Diego location in November with plans to introduce a new show in 2017. Those plans also included the focus “more on the natural setting” but did not pertain to the other SeaWorld locations. In the years since the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which explored the effects of captivity on orca whales, SeaWorld faced a fall in both ticket sales and reputation after originally calling the film “propaganda.

For more on SeaWorld’s plans, including a partnership with The Humane Society of the United States, at SeaWorld’s official announcement page.




 

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2016/0317/SeaWorld-shifts-focus-from-orca-breeding-to-animal-rescue

 

SeaWorld shifts focus from orca breeding to animal rescue





As the American public loses its taste for animal performances, the theme park vowed Thursday to end its orca captive breeding program immediately.

By Cathaleen Chen, Staff March 17, 2016

In partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced Thursday that it will end its breeding of orca whales and keeping them captive for public exhibition.

The current group of 29 orcas in SeaWorld facilities will be the theme park’s last generation. The change comes after several years of pressure from animal rights activists concerned about the treatment of the park's orca whales and a "sea change" among consumers growing wary of the use of animals as entertainment.

“As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations – so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go,” Joel Manby, SeaWorld's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The company, which operates parks in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio, faced intense backlash after the 2013 release of “Blackfish,” a documentary that criticized SeaWorld’s treatment of its animals in captivity. The film focused heavily on the 2010 death of a top SeaWorld trainer, who was pulled underwater and drowned by an orca.

SeaWorld began moving away from it's captive breeding program in November, when the California Coastal Commission prohibited the San Diego park from adding any additional orcas caught in the wild or bred in captivity to its tanks.

Since the 1985 birth of Baby Shamu, the first orca born in a SeaWorld park, 30 have been raised completely in the parks. SeaWorld announced later that it would replace its signature Shamu shows in San Diego with an exhibit focused on conservation.

This is a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change,” Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of “Blackfish,” said a statement from the Humane Society.

SeaWorld’s pledge comes exactly a year after the circus company the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus promised to phase out its elephant acts by 2018, citing a “mood shift among our customers.”

As the general public has grown more conscious of animal welfare in recent years, the entertainment industry is not alone in facing heightened scrutiny.

There is a sea change going on in our culture about animals and we are coming to recognize the profound depth of animal emotion and thinking and suffering,” Barbara King, anthropology professor at William & Mary and author of “How Animals Grieve,” told The Christian Science Monitor last year.

This awakening, experts say, supported by the accessibility of information in the digital age, has ultimately affected consumer decisions in parks, grocery stores, and beyond. SeaWorld, for instance, saw a 11 percent decline in shares last year.

“Public pressure is now mounting to protect animals in a range of contexts,” Charles Camosy, professor of theology at Fordham University, told the Monitor.

“The future is definitely pro-animal.”



 

http://www.businessinsider.com/seaworld-ending-killer-whales-ownership-2016-3

 

SeaWorld is going to stop breeding killer whales

seaworld orca

Mike Blake/ReutersTrainers have Orca killer whales perform for the crowd during a show at the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, California March 19, 2014.

SeaWorld Entertainment announced early Thursday that the company's current generation of orcas will be its last, according to a release from the company.

"SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that the killer whales – or orcas – currently in the company's care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld," said the release. "The company will end all orca breeding as of today."

The move comes after years of scrutiny about the treatment of the animals in its parks following the documentary Blackfish in 2013.

Most recently, a ruling in California found that SeaWorld was no longer allowed to breed whales at its San Diego park. The company decided to phase out theatrical shows with whales in the state.

"As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it," said CEO Joe Manby in the release. "By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

The company also announced that it will be ending its current theatrical shows and instead allow parkgoers to have "inspiring, natural orca encounters." This shift will be done in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States.

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS in the release. "Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities."

In the years following the documentary, the company has endured everything from boy band member Harry Styles of One Direction called for a boycott to the revelation that one of the company's employee was going undercover to infiltrate animal rights group PETA.

In reaction, attendance, profits, and the company's stock have all spiraled downwards.

Manby also stressed in the release that SeaWorld is committed to becoming a leading animal protection group.

"The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals," he said. "To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world's leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning."

According to the release, one of the company's female orcas is now pregnant, and since orcas can live up to 50 years, SeaWorld may have the animals for many years still.




 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/seaworld-orcas-treatment_us_56e9cf43e4b0860f99db7e36

 

SeaWorld To Announce Major Overhaul Of Its Treatment Of Orcas

The park is expected to announce that it will stop breeding killer whales in captivity.

03/17/2016 06:01 am ET

Kate Sheppard

http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/scalefit_630_noupscale/56e9e0081e0000950071065b.jpeg

Phelan M. Ebenhack/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Killer whale Tilikum watches as SeaWorld Orlando trainers take a break during a training session at the theme park's Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Florida, March 7, 2011.

SeaWorld, together with the Humane Society of the United States, is expected to announce a landmark agreement Thursday drastically altering practices at its theme parks, which have come under increased scrutiny for their treatment of animals.

The company is expected to announce that it will end orca breeding, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. The animals currently in captivity at the parks will live out the remainder of their lives there.

SeaWorld is also expected to announce an end to theatrical shows at its parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Florida, instead focusing on educational programs as well as animal rescue and restoration work.

The agreement, which SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby and Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle are expected to announce Thursday, would fundamentally change SeaWorld's business model. 

Orcas, while often called "killer whales," are actually a species of dolphin. They are powerful and intelligent mammals, and can live for up to 50 or even 100 years in the wild.

SeaWorld has been under growing pressure to change its business model in recent years. In 2010, an orca named Tilikum fatally injured a trainer at the company's Orlando park while visitors looked on. That incident was explored in Death at SeaWorld, a 2012 book by Huffington Post blogger David Kirby that attributed the aggression of Tilikum and other orcas to their captivity. The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" also cast a critical eye on SeaWorld, reporting on Tilikum's treatment and raising the question of whether orcas should be confined in marine parks.

Animal rights groups have called on SeaWorld to free the orcas currently in captivity. While Thursday's agreement isn't expected to go that far, it would nevertheless represent a major shift for the 57-year-old company.

The company has made some previous attempts to change its practices. In November, SeaWorld committed to ending theatrical orca shows at its San Diego park by 2016 and said it will focus instead on educational presentations.

But the company has also shown a reluctance to change, suing the state of California last year over its restriction on breeding orcas in captivity. The company also admitted last month that it had sent employees to infiltrate animal rights groups critical of SeaWorld's practices.



 

 

http://digiday.com/brands/seaworld-announces-end-breeding-killer-whales-theatrical-shows/

 

SeaWorld announces end to breeding killer whales, theatrical shows

Jordan Valinsky

SeaWorld will stop breeding killer whales and end its signature theatrical shows, caving to years of bad publicity and declining attendance.

SeaWorld said in a statement this morning that it will shift its attention to “new, inspiring, natural orca encounters” that focuses on the animal’s’ health and wellness. “Society is changing and we’re changing with it,” a letter on its website read. “SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guests to take action to protect wild animals and wild places.”

The black and white whales have become synonymous with the brand for the past fifty years, when it began capturing the whales to breed and display for amusement purposes. But its reputation took a turn for the worse when the 2013 documentary Blackfish accused the park of animal abuse.

The changes won’t be immediate. While this will be the last generation of 24 orcas it breeds, the shows will continue until next year in San Diego and until 2019 at its parks in Orlando and San Antonio.

SeaWorld’s reputation is already bouncing back following the news.

“PETA has campaigned hard, and now there is a payoff for future generations of orcas,” the animal rights organizations said in a statement. The Humane Society of the United States echoed that sentiment, saying that the news is a ” dramatic shift that signals an eventual end to the practice of keeping captive orcas for public exhibition.”

Online, the brand has been mentioned 21,000 times today with 74.5 percent of the sentiment being positive, according to Brandwatch. As for the ending the breeding program, 96 percent of the mentions are positive.




 

 

https://www.thedodo.com/seaworld-stop-breeding-orcas-1667873084.html

 

BREAKING: SeaWorld Will Never Breed Orcas Again

By Katy Brink

SeaWorld will never breed another orca again.

In a major victory for animal lovers everywhere, the company announced Thursday in an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that it will immediately stop its captive breeding program, making the current generation of orcas the last.

"Today's announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS in a press release.

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said the company would also be phasing out its theatrical orca shows, and renewed its longstanding, but often questioned, commitment to rescuing and rehabilitating sea animals.

"As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations — so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go," he said.

Ever since the release of "Blackfish" three years ago, the public has lost its appetite for seeing orcas stuck in small tanks. Dwindling attendance numbers followed, and Manby has blamed "continued brand challenges."

The fight against SeaWorld's breeding program in particular reached a head last year, when the California Coastal Commission voted to allow SeaWorld San Diego to expand their orca tanks — on the condition that the San Diego park no longer breed orcas. SeaWorld quickly tried to overturn the banand even admitted it had sent its employees to spy on animal welfare groups concerned with the company's orca captivity and breeding programs.

Thursday's announcement means that SeaWorld has finally realized that their current model doesn't work from an ethical or business standpoint.

"This is a first, massive step forward toward a more humane future for SeaWorld," Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, said in the press release. "I welcome these commitments from Joel Manby. He has given SeaWorld a new lease on life."

As of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, SeaWorld stock was already up 4 percent.




 

http://ecowatch.com/2016/03/17/seaworld-end-breeding-orcas/ 


SeaWorld to End Captive Breeding of Killer Whales

March 1, 2016

In a dramatic shift that signals an eventual end to the practice of keeping captive orcas for public exhibition, SeaWorld announced it would cease all of its orca breeding programs for the company’s nearly 30 whales. This action will make the current group the last generation of SeaWorld’s orcas. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which worked with SeaWorld on these new policies, praised its reforms as a major step forward toward a humane economy in which corporations respond and adapt to public concerns over animal welfare.

The announcement with SeaWorld exemplifies The Humane Society of the United States’ approach to act as a catalyst and contributor to the adoption of more humane practices by the corporate sector. Photo credit: Cmeder / iStockphoto

“These two organizations have been long-time adversaries, but we’re excited now to see the company transforming its operations for the better on animal welfare,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS, said. “Today’s announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end and that SeaWorld will redouble its work around rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals in crisis and partner with us to tackle global threats to marine creatures.”

The HSUS has long been critical of keeping orcas and dolphins in captivity and has clashed with SeaWorld for more than two decades. Of SeaWorld’s orcas, 23 were born in captivity. SeaWorld ended live capture of orcas and other marine mammals from the wild years ago and reaffirmed that commitment today.

“SeaWorld takes seriously its responsibility to preserve marine wildlife. As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations—so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go,” Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld, said.

“Together with HSUS and with our 20 million guests and 20,000 employees we can build an army of advocates to protect animals and wild places.”

SeaWorld has weathered strong currents of public criticism since the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish and today’s announcement comes in the wake of increasing pressure and calls on the company to end captive orca performance at its parks.

“This is a first, massive step forward toward a more humane future for SeaWorld,” Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute and formerly with the HSUS, said. “I welcome these commitments from Joel Manby. He has given SeaWorld a new lease on life.”

“This is a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change,” Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of Blackfish, said.

The announcement with SeaWorld exemplifies the HSUS’s approach to act as a catalyst and contributor to the adoption of more humane practices by the corporate sector.

Through collaboration or confrontation or sometimes a combination of the two, the HSUS has worked in recent years to secure substantial animal welfare commitments from companies working within food and agriculture, cosmetics and chemical manufacturing, fashion, the pet industry, animals in entertainment and other sectors. In addition to its new policies for orcas, SeaWorld has committed to:

  • Maximizing its focus on rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals in distress and highlighting the plight of unreleasable animals to foster a stronger bond between humans and animals and to educate people about ongoing threats to them.
  • Participating in advocacy campaigns to end the commercial slaughter of marine mammals. Specifically, SeaWorld plans to advocate for an end to commercial whaling and sealing and to fight shark finning throughout the world. We expect the company will weigh in on a range of other issues that adversely affect the lives of marine creatures.
  • Revamping its food policies by changing its procurement practices to source only sustainably raised seafood, crate-free pork and cage-free eggs and to offer more vegan and vegetarian options at all of its restaurants and other food service operations, which serve more than 20 million people annually.
  • Protecting coral reefs and reducing the commercial collection of wild-caught ornamental fish.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Ringling Bros. pledged it would phase out its use of elephants in traveling acts—a game-changing announcement for the use of wild animals in circuses. Today’s announcement by SeaWorld is also tremendously significant and marks a turning point in the movement to phase out the use of orca for captive display.



http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/seaworld-ends-controversial-captive-breeding-of-killer-whales/ 

SeaWorld Ends Controversial Captive Breeding of Killer Whales

The theme park plans to instead focus on inspiring protection of wild animals and habitats

 

By Jennifer Hackett

March 17, 2016

SeaWorld announced today that the theme park chain is ending its killer whale breeding program. The decision comes after ongoing criticism from animal rights activists and the increasing public disapproval of its treatment of the orcas. The park’s current batch of 29 killer whales will be the last kept in captivity.

Although SeaWorld has been under fire for decades since the Humane Society of the United States launched a campaign to end captive marine mammal shows, criticism of the park reached a peak with the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which focused on the park’s mistreatment of the orcas and the threats the marine mammals posed to their trainers. SeaWorld’s announcement comes after California Coastal Commission‘s October statement that the park would no longer be permitted to breed the animals in captivity as well as the November Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act, which sought to ban the use of orcas for public display.

In response to criticism, SeaWorld has emphasized its marine mammal research and wild animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. SeaWorld argued that captive killer whales benefit researchers because they are an easy-to-access population for controlled research, which would not be possible with hard-to-track wild orcas. The park also supports a number of conservation partners, including multiple federal and state entities, such as the World Wildlife Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, SeaWorld maintains a rescue team that, according to its Web site, has helped more than 27,000 animals that were orphaned, ill, injured or in need of some kind of care. Although the goal for these rescued animals is rehabilitation and reintroduction to the wild, animals that cannot be returned to nature are kept in captivity, either at one of SeaWorld’s 12 parks or at other approved marine life facilities such as aquariums.

Killer whales have been bred at SeaWorld since 1985; 23 of the park’s killer whales were born in captivity, with the most recent born in 2014. The park plans to replace its centerpiece killer whale theatrical shows with displays focused on marine conservation that evoke killer whales’ natural habitats more closely. The new facilities, which are part of the Blue World Project, will have visitors observe the whales in large tanks with oceanlike currents, varying depths and shallow beach areas along its edge. The Humane Society, a previous critic, is collaborating with the park on its new policies. Despite calls from activists to release the remaining orcas into the wild, SeaWorld reps have indicated that none of the currently captive whales will be set free—doing so would likely result in their deaths.




http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2016/03/seaworld-announces-it-will-end-breeding-killer-whales
 

SeaWorld Announces It Will Finally Stop Breeding Killer Whales

By Inah Oh
March 17, 2016


On Thursday, SeaWorld announced it is ending its controversial killer whale breeding program this year. The move, which was announced in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, follows years of mounting public backlash over the treatment of animals living in the company's parks.

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby explained the company's decision in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times:

We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world's largest marine mammals. Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create—which is why SeaWorld is announcing several historic changes. This year we will end all orca breeding programs—and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care.

The orcas currently in captivity at SeaWorld will live out the rest of their lives in the parks, despite pressure from animal rights activists to release them into the wild. Manby said on Thursday that such calls to release them were "not wise" and that if they were to do so, the whales would likely die.

For years, SeaWorld has been under intense scrutiny over the conditions killer whales are subjected to in its parks, conditions many animal rights activists describe as inhumane. The 2013 documentary Blackfish heightened those concerns.

In November, SeaWorld announced it was ending its popular killer whale show at its flagship park in San Diego.




 


http://gawker.com/caving-to-criticism-at-last-seaworld-announces-an-end-1765517884 



SeaWorld Finally Caves to Criticism and Announces an End to Its Orca-Breeding Program

By Rich Juzwiak

March 17, 2016

In an L.A. Times op-ed, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment’s president and CEO Joel Manby announced today that SeaWorld is ending its orca-breeding program this year. “And because SeaWorld hasn’t collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld’s care,” writes Manby. “We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows.”

Manby cites the “growing number of people” who are against orca captivity without specifying its catalyst, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s 2013 documentary Blackfish, which set off a movement and now can be considered The Thin Blue Line for orcas. SeaWorld initially pushed back hard againstBlackfishsending out an email blast refuting several of the film’s assertions around the time of its release. Subsequently, the park saw its profits collapse—they declined by 84 percent last year (income in the second quarter dropped from $37.4m in 2014 to $5.8m in 2015). At the time of that announcement, Manby, who joined the company in April 2015, said he’d lay out his vision for the future of the company that November. On November 9, 2015, SeaWorld San Deigo announced an end to its orca show. At the time, SeaWorld also vowed to fight a California Coastal Commission ruling to ban its orca breeding program. It would appear that SeaWorld has stopped fighting.

Manby points out that it was SeaWorld sowed seeds of compassion by allowing humans to experience orcas up close—prior to its 1964 opening, killer whales were “feared, hated and even hunted.” (This fact is corroborated by Blackfish.) So in other words, without SeaWorld, humans wouldn’t care enough about orcas to want them out of SeaWorld. What SeaWorld did for orca compassion, Blackfish did for orca liberation. We finally understand the value of leaving orcas the fuck alone and allowing them to live in their natural habitats, and it only took 50 years, lots of marine-mammal misery, and the deaths of several humans. Nice.

Manby’s op-ed lays out a multi-pronged plan to restore the public’s goodwill-slash-be nice to animals. This includes partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to “work against commercial whaling and seal hunts, shark finning and ocean pollution,” increasing its rescue program, and raising “awareness of animal welfare, offering humane food options and serving only sustainable seafood.” The killer whales at SeaWorld parks will remain in captivity. “If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die,” writes Mamby. “In fact, no orca or dolphin born under human care has ever survived release into the wild.”

This news has been received warmly by people who really care about orcas. The Dodo quotes the Animal Welfare Institute’s Dr. Naomi Rose as saying, “This is a first, massive step forward toward a more humane future for SeaWorld. I welcome these commitments from Joel Manby. He has given SeaWorld a new lease on life.” Even the notoriously cranky PETA had reasonably positive things to say:

All of that said, don’t go to SeaWorld ever.




 

http://www.justjared.com/2016/03/17/blackfish-director-reacts-to-seaworlds-policy-change-in-ending-killer-whale-breeding-program/ 



'Blackfish' Director Reacts to SeaWorld's Policy Change in Ending Killer Whale Breeding Program

'Blackfish' Director  Reacts to SeaWorld's Policy Change in Ending Killer Whale Breeding  ProgramDirector of the illuminating documentary Blackfish, illustrating the treatment of killer whales at SeaWorld, is speaking out about the company’s new changes that were announced on Thursday (March 17).

“Of course we want more because change should always be dynamic,” Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director, told THR. “But breeding, expanding killer whales into international markets, all these missives once sat at the center of their business model. And they’re willing to stop these practices immediately. This is paradigm shifting.”

If you didn’t know, SeaWorld announced they would cease breeding the species, end the Orca shows, and also announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States.

“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals. As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter,” SeaWorld said in a statement about ending their Orca breeding program.
***

 








http://news.discovery.com/animals/whales-dolphins/sea-world-to-stop-breeding-orcas-160317.htm


Sea World to Stop Breeding Orcas

Mar 17, 2016 10:11 AM ET // by Discovery News

In an opinion piece published this morning in the Los Angeles Times, Sea World Chief Executive Officer Joel Manby announced the company will no longer breed orcas.

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“This year we will end all orca breeding programs,” Manby wrote, calling the remaining orcas “the last generation of orcas in Sea World’s care.”

Sea World runs a dozen parks and has been criticized by animal rights groups for the allegedly unsatisfactory care of the orcas it has used in its shows. The documentary film “Blackfish” gained particular notoriety for its examination of the life of a Sea World orca named Tilikum.

The company had previously announced it would phase out its theatrical orca shows, in advance of federal legislation, and Manby said setting free Sea World's orcas now is “not a wise option.”

“Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives,” he wrote. “If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die.”

In a statement, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said it “commends SeaWorld for its game-changing commitment to end breeding of orcas, a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations.”

“HSUS also commends the company for ending its theatrical performances of orcas in favor of orca exhibits that highlight the whales’ natural behaviors, and for redoubling its commitment to rescue and rehabilitation model for marine animals in crisis,” the organization added.

Manby wrote that Sea World and HSUS are entering a partnership. “Together, we will work against commercial whaling and seal hunts, shark finning and ocean pollution.”




 

 

http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/03/17/seaworld-end-captive-breeding-killer-whales

 

SeaWorld To End Captive Breeding of Killer Whales, Orca Shows

The surprise move means the company's 28 orcas will be the last it holds in captivity.

 

Mar 17, 2016

In a stunning move, SeaWorld has agreed to stop breeding captive killer whales, meaning its 28 orcas will be the last generation owned by the company. SeaWorld also said it would end orca shows at all its entertainment parks by 2019. 

The announcement was made Thursday morning on the blog of Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, which negotiated with SeaWorld over the past few months to craft the new policy.

The move comes four months after SeaWorld San Diego announced it would phase out its iconic “Shamu” show and replace it with presentations focused on the animals’ natural environment.

Instead of breeding orcas, SeaWorld will now increase its focus on rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals in distress and bringing attention to rescued animals that cannot be released to raise awareness of their plight and educate the public about the growing threats to marine life.

SeaWorld will also take part in advocacy campaigns to end commercial whaling and seal hunting and to fight against shark finning, work to protect coral reefs, and reduce the commercial collection of ornamental tropical fish from the wild.

“SeaWorld takes seriously its responsibility to preserve marine wildlife,” SeaWorld chief executive Joel Manby said in a statement.  “As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations— so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go.”

Company representatives could not be immediately reached for further comment.

“It’s quite amazing,” Pacelle said in a phone interview. “I really applaud Joel Manby for being an important new leader in taking these very big steps forward for the company.”

“To me, it’s just another big indicator of the power of the humane economy that businesses that are not putting animal welfare at the center of their thinking are at great risk,” Pacelle said, “Companies that make animal welfare a central tenet of their work have a great opportunity by doing the right thing.”

For decades, SeaWorld and the Humane Society have been engaged in a bitter war of words over killer whale captivity, making this new rapprochement all the more remarkable.

Pacelle said he began negotiating with Manby in January after the two were introduced by John Campbell, a conservative Republican from Orange County, California, who retired from the House of Representatives in 2014. Campbell and Manby knew each other from their years of working in the automobile dealership industry, Pacelle said.

“He called me and said Joel is a really good guy and I think you would really like him a lot,” Pacelle said. “And I think that company has to change, and you need to spend some time with him and see if you can get somewhere.”

When they met, Manby, who took the reins of the company a year ago, told Pacelle that he was very proud of the animal-rescue work that SeaWorld does, Pacelle said.

“I said that was fine, but all your orca activities are stepping on the rest of your work,” Pacelle said. “No one can see that because your company is so defined by the treatment of your orcas.”

http://www.takepart.com/sites/default/files/styles/inline_thumbnail/public/Tilikum2.jpg?itok=7fE6IiDg

As another part of the change in its business practices, SeaWorld will source only sustainably raised seafood, crate-free pork and cage-free eggs, and will offer more vegan and vegetarian options at its restaurants and food service operations.

The news astounded Naomi Rose, a killer whale expert and marine-mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute who has been fighting against orca captivity for 23 years.

“It’s as gobsmacking as it sounds,” Rose said. “I’m giving full credit to Joel Manby and SeaWorld because this is not a small thing for them. It’s pretty shocking, in a good way.”

Rose said that although SeaWorld did not agree to all demands made by anti-captivity activists, such as retiring its killer whales to coastal sea sanctuaries, “This is what they have agreed to, and I think it’s huge.”

“This is what the Blackfish effect was working toward,” Rose added, referring to the 2013 documentary that focused worldwide attention on killer whale captivity. “That was the ask; end the breeding programs, and they’ve done that.”

Rose said that SeaWorld’s ending of captive breeding accomplishes what a bill introduced in Congress last November sought to achieve and will make it easier to convince marine-mammal parks in other countries to follow suit.

The announcement came just one week after SeaWorld said its killer whale Tillikum was suffering from an incurable lung infection.

Both Rose and Pacelle said SeaWorld is becoming more transparent under Manby’s stewardship.

“These practices that went long unquestioned have now been questioned, and good people are taking action,” Pacelle said. “We can encourage people to change by writing critical books or filming devastating documentaries.”

That change will be good for SeaWorld’s sagging reputation, he said. “You do away with lawsuits and legislation and kids writing angry letters to you when you do the right thing.”




 

https://consumerist.com/2016/03/17/seaworld-ending-signature-killer-whale-shamu-shows-will-stop-breeding-orcas/

 

SeaWorld Ending Signature Killer Whale “Shamu” Shows; Will Stop Breeding Orcas

March 17, 2016 By Chris Morran

For decades, SeaWorld parks have been associated with the visual of orca killer whales — most famously Shamu — jumping into the air for the amusement of large audiences. But amid growing criticism about the treatment of these animals and the safety of their trainers, SeaWorld has committed to not only ending these shows, but to also cease breeding orcas in captivity.

SeaWorld’s flagship park in San Diego had previously announced that it would phase out the theatrical killer whale shows in favor of an orca exhibit that was more educational about the animal.

Today, in a joint statement with the Humane Society of the United States, SeaWorld officially commits to ending these shows at all parks, and to end its practice of breeding the whales.

The orcas that are already at SeaWorld parks will continue to live out their lives there, though they will be the last of the orcas in captivity at the world-famous tourist attractions.

SeaWorld and the orca shows have been heavily criticized in recent years, especially in the wake of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which chronicles the alleged mistreatment of orcas and apparent lapses in safety for their trainers.

The documentary looked at the death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed in front of park visitors when an orca named Tilikum pulled her into the water and kept her under during a performance.

The company has been trying to repair its tarnished public image ever since, launching a campaign called “Ask SeaWorld” and pledging to spend $10 million on orca research and expand the whale environment at the park, among other things.

Although SeaWorld has said it beefed up safety measures for its workers, in May 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in California cited SeaWorld San Diego for not properly protecting employees.




 

 

http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/17/11252948/seaworld-ends-orca-breeding-program

 

SeaWorld will stop breeding captive killer whales

Company to phase out theatric shows at its three parks by 2019

By Amar Toor

SeaWorld announced today that it will stop breeding captive orcas, commonly known as killer whales, marking a major shift for the 57-year-old company. In a statement released Thursday, SeaWorld said that the 24 orcas currently under its care will be last generation of the animals at its three US theme parks, adding that it will replace its flagship theatric shows with more "natural orca encounters."

The announcement comes after SeaWorld San Diego announced in November that it would phase out its killer whale shows by 2017, amid growing criticism from animal welfare groups. The company's treatment of killer whales gained broader attention following the 2013 release of Blackfish, a documentary that linked the orcas' captivity to their increased aggression. The film focused on an orca named Tilikum, which killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

"As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it."

"As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it," SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said in a statement. "By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

SeaWorld says that the theatric shows will be phased out at its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and Orlando in 2019. The company also announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, an animal advocacy group, to bolster conservation efforts.

The decision to end orca breeding also resolves a legal dispute between SeaWorld and the California Coastal Commission, a state regulatory body. Last year, the commission approved a plan to expand the orca enclosure at SeaWorld's San Diego park, but only on the condition that the company end all orca breeding. SeaWorld filed a lawsuit challenging the requirement in December.




 

 

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/seaworld-scraps-controversial-orca-breeding-programme-1.2576808

 

SeaWorld scraps controversial orca breeding programme

Trainer died in 2010 after killer whale named Tilikum pulled her into pool

Visitors are greeted by an Orca killer whale as they attend a show  featuring the whales during a visit to the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego. Photograph: Reuters

Visitors are greeted by an Orca killer whale as they attend a show featuring the whales during a visit to the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego. Photograph: Reuters

 SeaWorld has announced that it is ending its practice of killer whale breeding following years of controversy over keeping orcas in captivity.

In a statement, the company said the breeding programme will end immediately. It also announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States.

The company also said it is ending theatrical shows at its parks and will introduce “new, inspiring natural orca encounters”.

The new shows will begin next year at SeaWorld’s San Diego park, before expanding to its San Antonio park and then to the Orlando park in 2019.

“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals,” said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment.

“As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

The company said its partnership with the Humane Society will help educate guests on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretive programs at the parks and by expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals and other marine creatures.

“SeaWorld’s commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society.

Criticism over keeping killer whales in captivity increased in 2010 after a killer whale named Tilikum grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau after a Dine with Shamu show and pulled her into the pool, killing her.

The death was highlighted in a documentary titled Blackfish. Tilikum, who was also involved in the deaths of two others, is now very sick. He has been at SeaWorld Orlando for 23 years.




 

 

http://www.fox5ny.com/home/109130841-story

 

SeaWorld announces last generation of orcas in its care

SeaWorld announces last generation of orcas in their care.

Posted:Mar 17 2016 06:00AM EDT

Updated:Mar 17 2016 06:56AM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla - On Thursday SeaWorld announced that this will be their last generation of orcas in their care.  SeaWorld also announced that they have partnered with the Humane Society of the United States on New Animal Welfare and Wildlife Protection Initiatives. Below is SeaWorld's press release:

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that the killer whales - or orcas - currently in the company's care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld.  The company will end all orca breeding as of today. 

SeaWorld also will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals. These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.

SeaWorld also announced today a broad new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home. The company is committing to educating its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals, and other marine creatures. 

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS. "Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld's focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork."

"We are pleased to join with HSUS on the significant issues facing marine mammals and their ocean homes," said Manby.  "The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals. To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world's leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning."

The current population of orcas at SeaWorld - including one orca, Takara, that became pregnant last year - will live out their lives at the company's park habitats, where they will continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science, and zoological best practices.  Guests will be able to observe these orcas through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats.

SeaWorld reaffirms its commitment not to collect marine mammals from the wild.  It has not collected an orca from the wild in nearly 40 years, and the orcas at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent almost their entire lives in human care.  These orcas could not survive in oceans that include environmental concerns such as pollution and other man-made threats.




 

 

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2016/03/17/seaworld-ends-orca-breeding-program/

 

SeaWorld To End Orca Breeding Program

March 17, 2016 5:58 AM

ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – SeaWorld has announced that they are ending their orca breeding programhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png.

That means the killer whales currently at the company’s theme parks will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld.

“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. in a statement. “As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

The companyhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png plans to change the way the public views their killer whales. Instead of theatrical shows, they will introduce a new natural orca encounter.

“These programshttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019,” according to a statement from the company.

SeaWorld also announced a new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home. The company has committed to educatinghttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation.

“SeaWorld’s commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment,” said HSUS President Wayne Pacelle in a statement. “Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld’s focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork.”

The current population of orcas at SeaWorld – including one orca, Takara, that became pregnant last year – will live out their lives at the company’s parks. Guests will be able to observe these orcas through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats.




 

 

http://wivb.com/2016/03/17/seaworld-to-cease-breeding-orca-whales/

 

SeaWorld to cease breeding orca whales

By Evan Anstey, News 4 Digital Producer Published: March 17, 2016, 6:58 am Updated: March 17, 2016, 7:03 am

ORLANDO, Fla. (WIVB) — The orca whales seen now at SeaWorld parks across the country will be the last ones the parks will have.

The company announced that they will no longer breed orcas, or as they’re also known, killer whales, in captivity any more as of Thursday.

“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals,” said SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. President and CEO Joel Manby. “As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and re-imagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

A new, natural orca encounter will be introduced to the theme parks, in lieu of theatrical shows.

A statement from the company read, “These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.”

In addition to changes in their killer whale setup, SeaWorld also announced that it would be partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to protect oceans and the animals that live there, according to CBS contributors in Miami.

With this partnership, SeaWorld says it will teach park attendants about conservation and animal welfare.




 

 

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/03/17/sea-world-orca-breeding-ends/

 

SeaWorld Ends Orca Breeding, Plans To Phase Out Theatrical Shows

March 17, 2016 5:38 AM

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After years of public controversy, big changes are coming to SeaWorld park habitats across the country.

Starting Thursday, SeaWorld will end all orca breeding as part of an ongoing commitment to education, marine research and the rescue of marine animals, according to CEO Joel Manby.

“We’ve helped make orcas among the most beloved marine mammals on the planet,” Manby said. “As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guest will experience these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

Current orcas will live out their lives at the park habitats. The killer whales will continue to “receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science and zoological best practices,” the company wrote on its website.

SeaWorld made the historic announcement on Twitter in an effort to help inspire park guests to take action and help protect wild animals.

In addition to ending orca breeding, the company plans to phase out theatrical shows and instead offer natural orca encounters to park visitors.

According to SeaWorld, the new programs will focus on “orca enrichment, exercise and overall health.” Existing show pools and viewing areas will be redesigned into a more naturalistic setting.

SeaWorld has also partnered with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to protect oceans and marine animals.

The company has committed $50 million, over the next five years, to help end commercial killing of whales and seals along with shark finning.

The transformation will start at SeaWorld’s San Diego park in 2017, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.




 


http://www.cbs8.com/story/31493214/seaworld-ending-the-shamu-show-breeding-program

 

SeaWorld ending the Shamu show, breeding program

 

Posted: Mar 17, 2016 9:02 AM EST Updated: Mar 17, 2016 9:39 AM EST

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. announced that as of Thursday, orcas will no longer be bred at its parks in San Diego or anywhere else
in the country, and theatrical shows involving the marine mammals will be phased out.

SeaWorld has also teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States in an effort to educate visitors about animal welfare and conservation issues
through programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for whales, seals and other marine creatures in the wild.

''SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these
animals,'' SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. President and CEO Joel Manby said.

''As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and
re-imagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that
matter.''

SeaWorld's about-face comes less than three months after park officials filed a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission over a ruling that
would end the breeding of captive killer whales at its local theme park. The commission's October order was tacked onto its approval of a permit for the
expansion of its orca tanks.

SeaWorld had agreed earlier to not increase the park's orca population, except through occasional captive births or rescues authorized by government
agencies. Park officials said they have not captured orcas in the wild for decades.

SeaWorld has suffered dipping attendance since the release of the documentary film ''Blackfish,'' which focused on the treatment of orcas at the
park.

The theme park on Mission Bay has been the frequent target of animal rights organizations and was criticized after a San Diego employee posed as an animal rights activist to spy on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Manby wrote in an Los Angeles Times op-ed published today that the attitudes of Americans about orcas has changed dramatically since the first
SeaWorld park opened in 1964, with orcas going from being feared and hunted to become ''among the most popular marine mammals on the planet.''

''We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world's largest marine mammals,'' he wrote. ''Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create, which is why SeaWorld is announcing several historic changes. This year we will end all orca breeding
programs and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care.''

SeaWorld also plans to replace its theatrical shows with ''natural orca encounters,'' starting in San Diego next year, then in San Antonio and Orlando
in 2019. The orcas will continue to receive the highest-quality care.

SeaWorld will also partner with the Humane Society of the United States to advocate against commercial whaling, seal hunts, shark finning and ocean
pollution, and it says it will increase its focus on rescue operations.

''Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing
facilities; maximizing SeaWorld's focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork,'' Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said.

The CEO of SeaWorld will be on "CBS This Morning" starting at 7 a.m. talking about plans for the future of the killer whales in captivity. 



 

 

http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/dont-miss/109135453-story

 

SeaWorld announces last generation of orcas in its care

SeaWorld announces an end to all orca breeding.

Posted: Mar 17 2016 05:00AM CDT

ORLANDO, Fla - On Thursday SeaWorld announced that this will be their last generation of orcas in their care.  SeaWorld also announced that they have partnered with the Humane Society of the United States on New Animal Welfare and Wildlife Protection Initiatives. Below is SeaWorld's press release:

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that the killer whales - or orcas - currently in the company's care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld.  The company will end all orca breeding as of today. 

SeaWorld also will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals. These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.

SeaWorld also announced today a broad new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home. The company is committing to educating its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals, and other marine creatures. 

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

"SeaWorld's commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS. "Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld's focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork."

"We are pleased to join with HSUS on the significant issues facing marine mammals and their ocean homes," said Manby.  "The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals. To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world's leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning."

The current population of orcas at SeaWorld - including one orca, Takara, that became pregnant last year - will live out their lives at the company's park habitats, where they will continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science, and zoological best practices.  Guests will be able to observe these orcas through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats.

SeaWorld reaffirms its commitment not to collect marine mammals from the wild.  It has not collected an orca from the wild in nearly 40 years, and the orcas at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent almost their entire lives in human care.  These orcas could not survive in oceans that include environmental concerns such as pollution and other man-made threats.




 

 

http://www.news965.com/news/news/local/seaworld-announces-end-all-orca-breeding/nqm4P/

 

SeaWorld immediately ends all orca breeding at their theme parks

The last generation of ocras will live out their lives at the parks

courtesy

By Joe Kelley

SeaWorld will immediately stop all orca breeding programs at all their theme parks. 

From SeaWorld:

We’re making historic announcements at SeaWorld, including ending orca breeding, introducing new, inspiring and natural orca encounters, and launching new partnerships to protect oceans and marine animals. We’re creating a new vision for SeaWorld that will help us deliver on our mission that every guest who walks through our doors will be inspired to take action to help protect wild animals and wild places.

When SeaWorld opened its doors more than 50 years ago, killer whales were feared and even hunted. Now, they are among the most beloved marine mammals on the planet thanks, in part, to the inspirational encounters we’ve provided to more than 400 million guests.

The new vision for SeaWorld reflects changes in society and SeaWorld’s evolution with those changes, including ending killer whale breeding, new inspiring natural orca encounters, and new partnerships to protect oceans and marine animals.

While these decisions represent a shift in our business, they do not change our core values and purpose: to protect animals in the wild and inspire our guests to join us in this critical mission.

The transformation will start in the San Diego theme park, which had previously announced that they'd stop breeding program there to accommodate California laws and pressure from animal-rights activists. 

After San Diego, the San Antonio (TX) park will be the next to change direction, followed by Orlando's SeaWorld in 2019. 

As SeaWorld announced this morning, the parks will make major changes to the theatrical shows, transitioning them to 'encounters.' 

SeaWorld’s new orca encounter will take our killer whale shows in a new direction. We will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals. 

Everything will reflect the natural world and will focus on the research, education, care and respect that align with our mission to advance the well-being and conservation of these beautiful creatures. 

No longer a theatrical show, these programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise and overall health. Our existing show pools and viewing areas will be redesigned into a more naturalistic setting and we will continue to present the whales at scheduled times before a guest audience. 

SeaWorld has suffered from lagging attendance and profits following CNN's release of the documentary Blackfish. 

The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement:

SeaWorld has weathered strong currents of public criticism since the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” and today’s announcement comes in the wake of increasing pressure and calls on the company to end captive orca performance at its parks. 

“This is a first, massive step forward toward a more humane future for SeaWorld,” said Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute and formerly with The HSUS. “I welcome these commitments from Joel Manby. He has given SeaWorld a new lease on life.”

“This is a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change,” said Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of “Blackfish.”

SeaWorld has weathered strong currents of public criticism since the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” and today’s announcement comes in the wake of increasing pressure and calls on the company to end captive orca performance at its parks. 

“This is a first, massive step forward toward a more humane future for SeaWorld,” said Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute and formerly with The HSUS. “I welcome these commitments from Joel Manby. He has given SeaWorld a new lease on life.”

“This is a defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change,” said Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of “Blackfish.”




 

 

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2016/mar/17/seaworld-will-not-breed-orcas-phase-out-orca-shows/

 

SeaWorld To Stop Breeding Orcas, Phase Out Whale Shows

Thursday, March 17, 2016

By City News Service

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. announced that as of Thursday, orcas will no longer be bred at its parks in San Diego or anywhere else in the country, and theatrical shows involving the marine mammals will be phased out.

SeaWorld has also teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States in an effort to educate visitors about animal welfare and conservation issues through programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for whales, seals and other marine creatures in the wild.

"SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals," SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. President and CEO Joel Manby said.

"As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and re-imagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter."

SeaWorld's about-face comes less than three months after park officials filed a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission over a ruling that would end the breeding of captive killer whales at its local theme park. The commission's October order was tacked onto its approval of a permit for the expansion of its orca tanks.

SeaWorld had agreed earlier to not increase the park's orca population, except through occasional captive births or rescues authorized by government agencies. Park officials said they have not captured orcas in the wild for decades.

SeaWorld has suffered dipping attendance since the release of the documentary film "Blackfish," which focused on the treatment of orcas at the park.

The theme park on Mission Bay has been the frequent target of animal rights organizations and was criticized after a San Diego employee posed as an animal rights activist to spy on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Manby wrote in an Los Angeles Times op-ed published Thursday that the attitudes of Americans about orcas has changed dramatically since the first SeaWorld park opened in 1964, with orcas going from being feared and hunted to become "among the most popular marine mammals on the planet."

"We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world's largest marine mammals," he wrote. "Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create, which is why SeaWorld is announcing several historic changes. This year we will end all orca breeding programs and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care."

SeaWorld also plans to replace its theatrical shows with "natural orca encounters," starting in San Diego next year, then in San Antonio and Orlando in 2019. The orcas will continue to receive the highest-quality care.

SeaWorld will also partner with the Humane Society of the United States to advocate against commercial whaling, seal hunts, shark finning and ocean pollution, and it says it will increase its focus on rescue operations.

"Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld's focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork," Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said.



http://www.attractionsmanagement.com/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=322127&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=linkedingroups
SeaWorld stems tide of attendance and revenue decline; firms up plans for
Middle East expansion
Manby also announced progress in SeaWorld’s global expansion plans, saying
the company had “moved to the next phase of our international development
strategy" and signed an MoU with a Middle Eastern partner.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/loro-parque-ends-killer-whale-orca-breeding/
Tenerife water park with SeaWorld's killer whales defends right to breed

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160317/business/303179904/
3/17/2016 3:42 PM
The Latest: Trainers say SeaWorld is committed to orca care
11:40 a.m.
The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums says it supports SeaWorld's decision but cautions that losing public displays of orcas may threaten conservation efforts in the long run.

http://us.whales.org/blog/2016/03/seaworlds-stunning-announcement-sunset-on-orcas-in-captivity
SeaWorld’s stunning announcement: A sunset on orcas in captivity?
21 March 2016 - 9:08pm

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-seaworld-whale-breed-end-bad-for-conservation-032016-20160319-story.html
SeaWorld shocker bad for species preservation
Mark SimmonsGuest columnist

https://ajam.app.boxcn.net/s/veukgq33hitiyn385wmghcw4h1qst8rq
AJAM 20160318 - 745am Ingrid Visser.mp4




https://skift.com/2016/03/18/12-responses-to-seaworlds-decision-to-stop-orca-breeding/
12 Responses to SeaWorld’s Decision to Stop Orca Breeding
Associated Press - Mar 18, 2016 2:00 am
Following years of criticism and the death of a trainer, SeaWorld Entertainment said it will no longer breed killer whales.

The announcement was widely applauded by animal rights groups, but lamented by a trade group for aquariums and theme parks as a hindrance to science and conservation. Some comments:

“SeaWorld’s decision to end captive breeding, and make no additional wild captures in the future, means that the current generation of captive orcas in their parks will be the last.”
— Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who authored the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act in 2015.

“This decision means that in 30 or 40 years, after the last of SeaWorld’s orcas have passed away, future generations of American children will no longer be able to see and experience the awe-inspiring physicality and intelligence of these apex predators up close and be inspired to help conserve them in the wild.”
— Kathleen Dezio, president and CEO of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.

“We don’t come to this discussion, or this collaboration with any naivete or any lack of knowledge about the operations of SeaWorld. We didn’t want to be endlessly mired in conflict with SeaWorld. The goal was to make progress for animal rights.”
— Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, which announced a conservation and education partnership with SeaWorld on Thursday.

“The decision to end its orca breeding program globally and to commit to ending the collection of exhibit animals from the wild, as well as to a “no orca” policy should SeaWorld expand its brand into new international markets, is a monumental and important first step forward in achieving a more humane business model for the company.”
— Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal specialist at the Washington-based Animal Welfare Institute.

“I’m a mother who used to take her kids to SeaWorld. I just asked a question, and that question was, ‘Why did a top-level SeaWorld trainer come to be killed by a killer whale?’ Very few people see documentaries anyway — I never imagined there would be a sea change. I think it struck a nerve … and I think this resonated with children. I call kids these days the “I-can’t-believe-we-used-to-do-that” generation. They’re the ones who decide where families go on vacation.”
— Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish.”

“‘Blackfish’ is full of lies … I blame CNN for this. They bought the rights and have aired it a number of times. Frankly, sooner or later, if someone tells enough lies about you, people are going to believe those perceptions. It’s a sad day for journalism. It’s a sad day for the zoo and aquarium field and a sad day for the people at SeaWorld who care so much about those animals. because of places like SeaWorld.”
— Grey Stafford, incoming president of the International Marine Trainers’ Association.

“I can envision a day coming soon when children will be repelled by the idea of keeping any wild and sentient animals in captivity. Caging tigers, lions, elephants, orcas and other dolphins, to name a few, will become just as repulsive to an evolved civilization as smoking in restaurants.”
— Louie Psihoyos, director of the 2009 documentary “The Cove,” which showed the killing of dolphins in Japan.

“The Coastal Commission is gratified to have played a role in SeaWorld’s decision to end its breeding program.”
— Noaki Schwartz, spokeswoman for the California Coastal Commission, which banned orca breeding last year.

“Keeping and breeding large, intelligent animals in small underwater cages for the sake of entertainment and profit is simply unethical. Consumers have woken up and sent a clear message to SeaWorld that they won’t pay to watch animal cruelty in action.
— Angus Wong of SumOfUs, an international consumer watchdog organization.

“SeaWorld needs to go all the way and remove them from the stadium and put them into a sanctuary. And I believe the public will follow. If you put them in a natural setting, somewhere really beautiful, the public will go. They won’t make as much money because they won’t do stupid tricks and have a spectacular show, but the public will still support that.”
— Ric O’Barry, trainer of TV’s “Flipper,” founder of the DolphinProject.net and subject of the documentary “The Cove.”

“We’re eager for them to move a little faster toward the next step, which is a sea pen option. It’s difficult, it has to be done on a case by case basis so it’s not simply dumping them in the ocean. We’re not trying to free the whales — we know they can’t live in the ocean, for the most part, (but) there’s more that they can do.”
— Howard Garrett, founder of the Orca Network, which has pushed Miami Seaquarium to release its orca, Lolita.

“The marine mammal shows at Miami Seaquarium are constantly evolving in order to incorporate important educational and conservational elements. As a result, several months ago the killer whale presentation at Miami Seaquarium transitioned into an educational presentation about killer whales, their natural behaviors and the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population.”
— Andrew Hertz, General Manager, Miami Seaquarium.




http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/mar/17/reaction-to-seaworlds-decision-to-stop-orca/
Reaction to SeaWorld's decision to stop orca breeding
By Associated Press | 9:13 a.m. March 17, 2016

http://uk.whales.org/wdc-in-action/fate-of-captive-orcas?_ga=1.236666312.835765746.1457370288
The Fate of Captive Orcas
WDC

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/17/us/seaworld-last-generation-of-orcas/index.html
http://cnn.it/255T45W
 SeaWorld: Current orcas at parks will be last @CNN

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-35832175
Dolphins on display: How UK's 'Seaworlds' sunk
Magaux Dodds


http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0317-manby-sea-world-orca-breeding-20160317-story.html
 Op-Ed SeaWorld CEO: We're ending our orca breeding program. Here's why.

http://time.com/4263169/seaworld-killer-whales-activists/?xid=tcoshare
SeaWorld Should Free Its Killer Whales, Animal Activists Say
Still, many activists pushed for more change, including releasing its whales from captivity. “SeaWorld could come out being heroes,” said Colleen Gorman, CEO of the Orca Project

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/article/SeaWorld-to-end-orca-breeding-shows-6895659.php
SeaWorld to end orca breeding, shows

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-seaworld-ends-killer-whale-breeding-20160317-story,amp.html
SeaWorld says it will end killer whale breeding program immediately

https://gma.yahoo.com/life-leisure-awaits-seaworlds-last-generation-killer-whales-200754649--abc-news-topstories.html#
Life of Leisure Awaits SeaWorld's 'Last Generation' of Killer Whales

http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/03/17/seaworld-end-captive-breeding-killer-whales?cmpid=action-eml-2016-03-17-Orcas
SeaWorld to End Captive Breeding of Killer Whales, Orca Shows

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-seaworld-entrnmt-blackfish-idUSKCN0WJ2JP
How 'Blackfish' helped end SeaWorld's killer whale programs


Carl Safina posted a few essays on this topic -- he writes:

• On CNN.com, I consider how, breeding or not, captivity is not right for killer whales, and what retirement might look like:
http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/17/opinions/seaworld-should-retire-orcas/index.html


• In this Huffington Post piece, "SeaWorld Ends Orca Breeding: Experts Weigh In," I share several experts’ responses to  SeaWorld’s announcement. Thank you, experts!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-safina/seaworld-ends-orca-breeding_b_9486684.html


• In U.S. News and World Report, I share an adaptation from my book Beyond Words about the great value that the era of orca captivity has had—and why its usefulness has passed:
http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-03-17/seaworlds-decision-to-stop-breeding-orcas-is-a-step-in-the-right-direction

After quoting me and other people who are happy with SeaWorld's decision and more, in his Huffington Post piece we read: "A dissenting view came from a SeaWorld employee who worried that ending the breeding would deprive the killer whales of one of their main joys in life: the fun they have with their babies."

My simple response: "right - the fun they have with their babies living in bathtubs in which the youngsters are doomed to spend the rest of their lives in the same ()#*$)#&$)#ing bathtubs!"

http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=33f90b21a7380de9adaf4b41c&id=e46a9b6c56&e=a47da7f6c1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2016
Center for Whale Research Responds to SeaWorld Announcement
Last Generation Of Orcas In Its Care

http://wlrn.org/post/ending-orca-breeding-isnt-enough-seaquarium-protester-says
Ending Orca Breeding Isn't Enough, Seaquarium Protester Says

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/17/why-seaworld-is-ending-its-killer-whale-program-in-one-brutal-chart/?postshare=4531458237366315&tid=ss_fb-bottom
Why SeaWorld is ending its killer whale program, in one brutal chart

http://www.outsideonline.com/2062856/seaworld-end-captive-breeding-orcas
Seaworld to End Killer Whale Shows
Tim Zimmermann

http://kuow.org/post/puget-sound-s-dark-role-orca-captures
Puget Sound’s Dark Role In Orca Captures

http://www.people.com/article/sea-world-animal-activist-react-orca-breeding
This 'Is What I Have Fought for Since the Beginning:' SeaWorld Trainer Turned Animal Activist Says on SeaWorld Ending Orca Breeding
John Hargrove, a former trainer at the theme park and now one of its biggest critics, tells PEOPLE


http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/18/the-dark-era-of-orca-shows-is-ending/
The Dark Era of Orca Shows is Ending
Posted by Maddalena Bearzi of Ocean Conservation Society in Ocean Views on March 18, 2016

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03n2yc9
As SeaWorld announces an end to its breeding programme for orcas (also known as killer whales), is the public now turned off by captive animals? The Born Free Foundation's Chris Draper and Gerald Dick from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) discuss the pros and cons of zoos.

http://www.triplepundit.com/2016/03/sea-world-eliminates-orca-breeding-program/
Sea World Eliminates Orca Breeding Program
by Jen Boynton on Monday, Mar 21st, 2016

http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2016/03/seaworld-to-end-orca-breeding.html?credit=tw_post031716_mr_031716_web_id722154005
Breaking News: SeaWorld to End All Orca Breeding
Wayne Pacelle - March 17, 2016
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