SeaWorld to end orca whale breeding programme, theatrical shows

SeaWorld to end orca whale breeding programme, theatrical shows
17 March 2016


SeaWorld to end orca whale breeding programme, theatrical shows - © Chad Ehlers, dpa

Washington (dpa) - SeaWorld will end its orca whale breeding programme and stop using the aquatic mammals for theatrical shows, bowing to decades of pressure from animal rights groups.

"Society is changing and we're changing with it," the US-based theme park operator wrote on its website Thursday. "We will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows," the company said, referring to the species also known as killer whales. The last generation of orca whales will not be released into the wild, since they would have difficulties surviving after a life in captivity, the company said.

For decades, animal rights groups have clashed with the theme park operator, demanding it end the display of captive whales. The exact population of orcas worldwide is unknown, but some populations are listed as endangered, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.



The Washington DC-based Human Society of the United States, an animal protection group, called the decision to end captive breeding "a major step forward toward a humane economy in which corporations respond and adapt to public concerns over animal welfare."

Source: dpa