This morning those who have annual passes with SeaWorld (and many others) received a historic announcement in their email. After more than 50 years, SeaWorld is changing its killer whale program. Today’s announcement shared the changes that SeaWorld will be making regarding the care, breeding and display of these majestic marine mammals.
Here is how the email started out:
“You’re one of the first to learn about several historic announcements that SeaWorld is making. When we opened our 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 SeaWorld.”
The email continued to discuss the changes SeaWorld will be making and what annual pass holders and other visitors can expect in the future. Here are those changes:
This will be the last generation of killer whales in the care of SeaWorld. The email stated that SeaWorld has not “taken a whale from the wild in nearly 40 years. Now, we’re going further and will end our orca breeding programs as of today.” The SeaWorld team will continue to care for the whales already in captivity and they will stay at the park for the rest of their lives where guests can continue to view them.
Instead of continuing with the theatrical shows, SeaWorld is going to introduce a “new, inspiring, natural orca encounters.” This will be a part of the parks’ ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals. According to the email: “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.”
The new programs will focus on the overall health of the orcas, help with orca enrichment and encourage exercise. These program changes will start in the San Diego park next year and followed by the park in San Antonio. Changes are expected to begin in Orlando in 2019.
With all of these changes happening, SeaWorld also announced they are entering into a partnership with The Humane Society of the United States to help protect oceans and marine mammals. The email states that the HSUS fully supports the changes SeaWorld is making and together they hope to focus on the health of our oceans and the animals that call it home.
“HSUS and SeaWorld have common ground,” the email stated. “In that both of our organizations love animals and want to protect them. This partnership helps each group extend its own mission and is based on their joint interest in preserving and protecting wild animals and the places they live. The issues around animal conservation and protection are much bigger than any one organization, and we can be much stronger together.”
SeaWorld stated in the email that these decisions were not easy and do not change the company’s core values or purpose. They are still on a mission to protect animals in the wild and inspire and encourage guests to join in on this critical mission.
For more information about these changes and what the future holds for SeaWorld and its orcas visit SeaWorldCares.com/Future.