SeaWorld will never breed another orca again.
The company has announced it will end its orca breeding program and phase out theatrical shows featuring the highly intelligent animals.
“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.
“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,” SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said.
Ever since the release of “Blackfish” three years ago, SeaWorld has seen dwindling attendances and protests from animal rights activists calling for it to end public exhibitions of orcas.
“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.”