SeaWorld Will Change Its Killer Whale Shows, But Not End Them

The “Blackfish Effect” keeps going for SeaWorld. In the wake of the ongoing huge protests after the release of this documentary, which exposed the dark truth of the supposedly conservation-centered industry, SeaWorld’s CEO announced yesterday the plan to phase out all the current orca shows at its San Diego location by the end of 2016.

Last month Care2’s Alicia Graef brought us the news that SeaWorld was given permission to go ahead with its controversial $100 million building project, but California Coastal Commissioner Dayna Bochco announced that this could only happen if SeaWorld agreed to end all captive breeding, sale, trade, and transfer of the orcas in its care. In other words, the 11 orcas currently held would be the last ones ever held captive in San Diego. 

So now the controversial company has thought up a new plan.

End The “Theatrical Killer Whale Experience”

Joel Manby, SeaWorld’s chief executive, said it would end the “theatrical killer whale experience” in San Diego by the end of 2016. Apparently he reached this decision after listening to criticism of the current Californian Shamu show. In his continuing attempt to prove that he really, really, cares about these intelligent mammals, and that he seeks to educate and inspire audiences, Manby announced that he would replace the Shamu spectacle withan all new orca experience focused on the natural environment [of the killer whales].”

On the other hand, Manby has admitted the company, whose attractions include guests paying an extra $215 to play with dolphins for 20 minutes in their tanks, has so far not succeeded in evolving “the SeaWorld brand to match the changing expectations of our guests.”

Meanwhile, SeaWorld has two other killer whale parks, in San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Florida, and there are no plans to make any changes to the theatrical performances there.

It’s All About The Money, Of Course.

SeaWorld has lost almost half of it market value since Blackfish was released in 2013. If you haven’t had a chance to see this powerful documentary yet, take a look at the trailer:

Not surprisingly, the attendance at the San Diego park keeps dropping; last year the number of visitors dropped 17 percent, and last week Manby predicted a $10 million decline in SeaWorld’s profits in 2015. Investors are not happy, so the CEO needed to take some action.

But all this is not enough. These killer whales, like all animals, deserve to live free. As Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director and producer of Blackfish, explains:

SeaWorld could almost singlehandedly pioneer a sea sanctuary where it could retire the remaining whales. Seaworld’s whales are unlikely to know how to hunt for their own food. They’re given antibiotics and might die if they’re not in human care. They can’t simply be tossed back into the ocean. But a killer whale sanctuary would provide these animals with a massive, cordoned off, ocean cove where they could live out their lives in a healthier and more dignified way.

Take Action

Now Representative Adam Schiff, (D-CA) has announced legislation to phase out the display of orcas for entertainment entirely.

If you agree that orcas should no longer be held in captivity, please sign our petition to the U.S. Congress and ask your member of congress to support Schiff’s ORCA Act, to phase out this horrible treatment of such amazing animals.

The bill, if approved, would put an end to shows across the country featuring the marine mammals once the existing whales in captivity die.

Can’t you just hear your children and grandchildren saying, “I can’t believe we used to do that”?



Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Patricia Guilhem
Patricia Guilhem3 years ago

NON à Seaworld !!! C' est une prison où les orques souffrent, vivent l' horreur. ( soupirs )

Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago


Ruth C.
Ruth C3 years ago

Seaworld end Whale show? They will not do that, because that would mean losing a lot of Money, and that will never happen!

Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell3 years ago


Terri S.
Terri S3 years ago

To Ron L. - If you think watching captive orcas in a tank is a real animal experience, then I feel very sorry for you.

Maria Mohoric
Marija M3 years ago

tks for sharing and caring

Shari R.
Shari F3 years ago

To finish:

For every $1,000,000 of SWorld’s revenue, only $600 goes to conservation. That’s about 5 cents per ticket.’ This can be found on this link: Essentially, SW cannot be described as ‘a conservation organisation’ nor is its primary work the rescue/rehabilitation of marine animals. Further, SW has actually been the cause of the serious decline and subsequent listing as ‘Endangered’ of a population of orca off the coast of Washington (the Southern Residents). These orca were subject to immensely ‘short sighted and cruel’ roundups in which many orca died and in which traumatized calves were forcibly removed from their mothers. As a result, SW was taken to court by Washington State and banned from taking any more orca from Washington waters. The Southern Residents are still feeling, decades later, the ill effects of the removal of a generation of calves. In short, SW is the cause of an orca conservation disaster. I would argue that SW are ‘short sighted and cruel’ in the continued captivity of their orca and other marine mammals.

Shari R.
Shari F3 years ago

Ron L. ‘I hope Seaworld stops helping save manatee, dolphins, sea birds, and any other sea life they have been saving and helping for years! You going to start sending your dollars to help fund Seaworld's efforts to save the planets sea creatures? Of course not. Your effort is short sighted and cruel.’

HI Ron and thank you for contributing. I’m replying as many people do see SeaWorld primarily as a conservation organisation so I feel this issue should be discussed. SeaWorld does appear to help injured sea animals and does carry out some conservation work. However, SeaWorld also operates as a series of theme parks whose primary goal is profit rather than conservation. This is reflected in the full name of the company which is ‘SeaWorld Entertainments’ rather than ‘SeaWorld Conservation.’ I would also draw your attention to this article It states 'SeaWorld Entertainment claims $1.5 billion in annual revenue, yet has spent only $9 million on conservation in the past decade – or just 0.0006% of this corporation's net revenue [goes] into research and conservation annually. For every $100 made by a Sea World park, less than 1 cent is put into research benefiting wildlife.' In addition, Whale & Dolphin Conservation, a very well respected global conservation organisation, states: For every $1,000,000

Shari R.
Shari F3 years ago

To finish:

In the event that the CCC decision is upheld, SW will, as you say, need to consider what to do with these 11 whales. My fear is that SW may simply export them to another country and build breeding tanks there instead. Really, there should be a law in place that prevents companies from importing/exporting orcas from one country to another - but this is another matter.