According to an investor’s webcast that took place on Monday afternoon, SeaWorld is phasing out their orca shows at their San Diego location after guests responded strongly over the past several years.
An unnamed park representative, speaking on the webcast for investors, said of the decision to cut back on the park’s killer whale shows:
“The main point is we are listening to our guests. We are evolving as a company, we are always changing.”
While the park can say they are listening to their guests, this news may actually be in direct response to recent changes of the law in California.
Congressman Adam Schiff recently announced that he’s going to introduce the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act to stop captive orca displays in the state.
Schiff said in a statement:
“The evidence is very strong that the psychological and physical harm done to these magnificent animals far outweighs any benefits reaped from their display. While efforts to phase out whales in human care may strike an emotional chord, SeaWorld and other science-based organizations are part of the solution, not the problem. Killer whales at SeaWorld are healthy and thriving and through conservation and rescue efforts as well as significant work to advance the scientific understanding of orcas and other marine mammals, SeaWorld is a leader in protecting and preserving these species.”
According to SeaWorld, they will be debuting a different orca show in 2017 that, in their words, will be “focused more on the natural setting” of the animals’ lives, while promoting a “strong conservation message.”
Also, the other two locations of SeaWorld — in Orlando, Florida and San Antonio, Texas — have not yet announced whether they will be changing their shows.
If they end up changing nothing, perhaps it’ll prove the San Diego location changed only after being scared of Congressional focus, rather than “listening to [their] guests.”
But at least for now, it’s great news that some orcas at SeaWorld are about to have a (slightly) better experience!