SeaWorld's main attraction has always been the Orcas, since 1964. Throughout the years, many people were against Orca captivity, the big downfall for SeaWorld was in 2013 with the documentary "BlackFish". The documentary profiled on one of SeaWorld's whales, Tilikum, who has been involved with three deaths, including trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Since then, the company has been criticized for its treatment of whales; causing Seaworld to have some serious financial damages and protesters against the company.
Joe Manby, SeaWorld CEO and President, recently announced in a letter to the LA Times that they will end all orca breeding programs. This announcement also includes phasing out all theatrical shows involving the orca whales. However, the remaining whales at Seaworld won't be freed from captivity. According to Manby, "it's not a wise option" to go further to that extent. Most of the Orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those who were born in the wild were raised all of their lives in the parks. This would result in the whales dying if they were set free in the ocean, making them unfit to live in the wild due to being under human care.
"For as long as they live, the Orcas at SeaWorld will stay in our parks. They'll continue to receive the highest-quality care, based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science and zoological best practices. " said Manby. SeaWorld also announced their partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The historic partnership is based on their joint interest in preserving and protecting wild animals and the places they live. HSUS and SeaWorld will work together as advocates and educators for the ocean and its animals on fish and marine mammal protection, healthy oceans and sustainable seafood.
This giant change in Seaworld is proof how society's attitude is shifting. Society has changed their views on orcas being under human captivity throughout the years within the incidents that have occurred, Seaworld finally changed their views as well as listening to the public. This gives hope for other animals not to be under human captivity if it causing them harm. The only last hope for SeaWorld orcas is to transfer them to sea sanctuaries, which will allow the whales to be in their natural environment in the ocean without giving them total freedom in the wild.
Overall, SeaWorld wants visitors to re-imagine its historic change, providing education and memorable experiences to guest while visiting its parks. However, this also provides change and opportunity for other animals not to be under captivity, giving a new future and hope for wildlife animals.