It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
As we previously reported, SeaWorld faced immense backlash following the release of animal rights documentary Blackfish, an exposé which revealed the dangers of breeding and keeping whales in captivity. The park has since faced immense public pressure, dropping ticket sales, and a decreased fan base.
Now it looks like the company is trying to make good on their promise to improve the lives of their beloved orcas… or are they?
According to SeaWorld, a replacement program called "Orca Encounters" (set to debut this summer) will be a less flashy and "education-based" experience depicting the "natural behaviors" of killer whales.
"SeaWorld San Diego's new education-based Orca Encounter debuts this summer, where guests will learn how killer whales behave in the wild, how they move, hunt and navigate, what they eat and even how they communicate. This new "live documentary"-style presentation will not only help park visitors gain a deeper appreciation and respect for the orcas, but will leave them with a new sense of determination and purpose to help preserve the future of these majestic animals."
But will this really be so different?
Former orca trainer Al Garver further described the show to the San Diego Tribune, adding:
"You will still see a whale leaping out of the water. We want to be able to demonstrate behaviors people would see in the wild with the killer whales and their abilities as a top predator in the sea. The vast majority of behaviors people have seen in our shows will be very suitable for demonstrating that."
But wait… how is this an improvement from the Shamu show if whales are still performing tricks and leaping out of the water?
Ch-ch-check out some responses (below)!
"Michael Saucedo: This is the saddest day in my life I grew up watching these shows… Was looking forward to passing this on to my kids…
Shannon Drappo: The last show was amazing tonight. I cried, not gonna lie. It will never be the same…
Kimberly Ray: This is great progress. SeaWorld should be an education based program."
Do YOU think Orca Encounters is a step in the right direction?
[Image via SeaWorld Parks.]
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