Sea World is reportedly ending its killer whale shows

The power of Blackfish.

By Megan Friedman

After the documentary Blackfish put SeaWorld under a microscope, the theme park is changing the way it presents its iconic Shamu killer whales, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. According to the newspaper, SeaWorld will introduce a more "informative" orca show in a more natural setting in its San Diego park beginning in 2017. The company has yet to confirm the report but is presenting a new plan to boost attendance Monday.

The 2013 documentary Blackfish* claimed that SeaWorld mistreated its orcas to the point where they were psychologically damaged — and that damage led to the death of a trainer. The documentary sparked so much controversy that attendance declined, and profits have fallen by $10 million this year alone.

The company is already spending $100 million to give the orcas bigger tanks; the current small size was a major point of contention in Blackfish*. Some of this money will be diverted to the new orca attraction, which will phase out Shamu's famous tricks in favour of a more conservation-oriented message. It's unknown whether this will also carry over to the park's Orlando and San Antonio locations.

A new federal bill was recently introduced that would prohibit the breeding, wild capture, and trade of killer whales for public display, a move that SeaWorld naturally called problematic. This new park strategy might be a way to combat this legislation. Currently, SeaWorld has 24 orcas in all three parks combined.

Source: Cosmo US