SeaWorld Getting Rid of Killer Whale Shows

SeaWorld San Diego's CEO Joel Manby announced that their orca show with Shamu, "One Ocean," will be completely phased out by 2017, according to the BBC. In the meantime, the show is slated to shift from its current basis on tricks to a more educational focus. 

Manby said that the decision was due to reactions from parkgoers, but claimed that he only heard backlash from his San Diego Audience. 

"We start everything by listening to our guests and evolving our shows to what we’re hearing, and so far that’s what we’ve been hearing in California, they want experiences that are more natural and experiences that look more natural in the environment," Manby told the San Diego Tribune. "But it’s not universal across our properties."

That seems unlikely, because last year, likely due in part to anti-SeaWorld campaigns and the expose documentary Blackfish, company shares fell by 37 percent, according to NBC News

In October, a law passed in California stated that SeaWorld was no longer allowed to breed animals in capitivity. On Friday, California Representative Adam Schiff presented similar federal legislation, which could mean that more SeaWorld parks have to take similar steps. In California's three parks alone, there are 24 killer whales living in captivity.  

Because of this, the park will have to cancel their previous plan of doubling the size of their whale tanks, a project projected to cost them $100 million. 

While some have hope that the new laws will help reshape SeaWorld's ideology and ultimately get them to stop the alleged animal abuse that occurs there, marine scientist Naomi Rose at the Animal Welfare Institute is less than hopeful. 

"This is incremental," Rose told NBC. "It's never going to get them to the end goal of truly improving the situation for the orcas there."

It looks like the future of SeaWorld parks nationwide is unclear right now. Hopefully, the company chooses to move in a direction that supports the orcas and the rest of the sea life held there, but if not, upcoming legislation might make that decision for them.