One of San Diego’s favorite places to have fun is taking a major plunge. Seaworld is known for its cool animals and extravagant rides, but the main attractions is the amazing orca shows. As of Jan. 8, 2017, their beloved orca show has ended.
According to USA Today, “the killer whales currently living at its facilities will be its last as it will stop breeding them immediately and phase out theatrical orca shows.”
All of this is happening three years after SeaWorld was put under pressure for its treatment toward the killer whales, and the trainers due to the documentary Blackfish. SeaWorld has lost half of its market value since the 2013 release of Blackfish, reported by USA Today.
According to National Geographic, the orca shows have ended in California but at other park locations they will continues, but will end in Florida and Texas sometime in 2019.
According to National Geographic, the SeaWorld San Diego spokesperson Dave Kootz states, “SeaWorld will conduct an interim orca educational presentation in the pool that is also used for underwater viewing, while we remove the existing theatrical moving screens and show set in the stadium and replace them with a natural backdrop that will reflect the natural world of the orca.”
Due to the change in the show SeaWorld as a whole in San Diego hasn’t been doing so well. According to The Guardian, “Attendance at the San Diego park is falling fast. Visitor numbers dropped 17% last year to 3.8 million.”
According to The Guardian Joel Manby, SeaWorld’s chief executive, told investors in a webcast on Monday that the company was going to refocus on conservation of animals rather than using them as entertainment.
Even though SeaWorld stopped their shows and promised to no longer breed the killer whales, the activist group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is not satisfied with that. According to National Geographic, “PETA has asked the company to immediately open their tanks to the oceans,” meaning releasing animals back into the ocean.
According to USA Today, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated, “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 lifespan is 50 years, and they can live up to 100.”
To put the icing on the cake, a killer whale named Tilikum passed away on Jan. 6, at the San Diego SeaWorld.
According to CNN News , “Tilikum, the killer whale involved in the deaths of three people, including SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010” also, “Tilikum was at the center of the 2013 CNN documentary Blackfish.
Another killer whale that has recently passed away is the killer whale named Unna, from the San Antonio Texas Seaworld. According to Daily Mail News, Unna “has died after a months-long battle with an infection”
From the 52 years that Seaworld has been open, 37 of their orcas have passed away. Due to the controversy and the deaths of the killer whales Tilikum and Unna, SeaWorld is officially ending their orca shows.