This Sunday (8th Jan) will see the end of SeaWorld San Diego’s controversial theatrical orca shows, a move that was announced by the captivity giant (along with an end to orca breeding programmes) last year
The decision came after growing public criticism regarding the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity, which has led to corporate partners walking away, falling profits, and various scandals in recent years.
The end to breeding means that this generation of captive orcas the last to be kept by SeaWorld, but the company has announced that the orcas currently held captive will remain in their small tanks and form part of a new, more ‘natural encounter’ show, with a rocky coastline and giant digital information screen for the public to see starting this summer.
SeaWorld says that parks in San Antonio and Orlando will follow suit by 2019, but many critics argue that little will change for the orcas who remain confined to a life swimming round and round in tanks. Following the death of Tilikum today, SeaWorld now holds 28 of the 55 orcas currently held in captivity, plus numerous dolphins and belugas captive who still perform tricks for ‘entertainment’.
WDC will continue to work towards the creation of more naturalistic sea pen sanctuaries where captive orcas can be retired.