Back in March of 2016, SeaWorld promised not to breed any more killer whales in captivity. They said that the orcas there now would be the last generation to live in captivity, and they would not be performing shows like they used to both in the United States and in their parks abroad.
Later that same year, California expanded on that idea and passed a law banning breeding, performing, and the introduction of any new orcas into captivity within the state. Advocates in Florida, home of the global headquarters for SeaWorld, are pushing for the same law protecting orcas.
With SeaWorld taking some major hits recently with the release of the Blackfish documentary (which if you haven't seen I highly suggest you watch it) they are trying to come out of that and rebuild the company starting with this promise of not breeding their orcas any longer.
However, a recent transaction occurred across the Atlantic ocean where SeaWorld may have already gone back on their promise.
SeaWorld surrendered six orcas to Loro Parque on the Spanish island of Tenerife after the parks president publicly opposed the breeding ban. On December 5th, Loro Parque announced through their website the pregnancy of Morgan, one of the orcas surrendered from SeaWorld. The director for environmental affairs of the Loro Parque Foundation confirmed that Morgan was impregnated by one of the two original males at the SeaWorld park.
A SeaWorld spokesman named Travis Claytor said that the transfer was made "before anyone knew the whale was pregnant," but did not answer when Morgan was bred and when the transfer was effective, whether this was a breach of the March 2016 policy or whether SeaWorld would support the proposed Florida bill.
Humane Society of the United Sates president Wayne Pacelle (who negotiated SeaWorld's breeding ban) said that the Loro Parque tansfer "does appear to be a breach of this policy." Pacelle also said that the policy held SeaWorld accountable for controlling the outcome of the care of their whales in their lifetime. Transferring their whales to a place were they have very different views on how to care for their animals and has a different policy regarding major issues breaks that promise.
In essence, orcas shouln't be bred in captivity for many reasons. It's not good on the mother because the ocean compared to a fishbowl is a huge difference and a baby whale (which should be a wild animal and has those instincts) should not have to be limited in what it experiences. Sea World promised not to breed whales in captivity as of March of 2016 and this situation makes it seem as if they are breaking this promise.