A killer whale during a performance at Sea World. The theme park chain recently agreed to end such performances.
Photo by Gerardo Mora—Getty Images
By Michal Addady
May 2, 2016

In a win for animal rights activists, SeaWorld (seas) is making a big change to its killer whale performances.

As CEO Joel Manby said in an interview with Bloomberg, performances will now focus on animals’ natural tendencies rather than tricks they were taught in captivity. Instead of dancing, kissing, and posing, you’ll now be able to see them communicate with one another, beach themselves to hunt for food, and other things you would see them do in nature.

As SeaWorld implements new animal-friendly policies, it has decided to take a more educational approach. “Think of Discovery Channel, think of Nat Geo,” Manby said. “It’s entertaining because it’s fascinating, not because they’re jumping five at a time to wonderful scored music.”

Manby took the helm at SeaWorld last year in the seemingly never-ending Blackfish aftermath. He has overseen the park’s most substantial response to the 2013 documentary when it announced earlier this year that it has ended orca breeding, effectively phasing out their captivity at SeaWorld altogether.

 

The park also has plans to create additional attractions that showcase the whales as sea creatures rather than performers. It’s also debuting a Mako roller coaster at its Orlando park in June where you can learn about sharks as you wait in line.

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