Sea World San Diego is phasing out its controversial orca shows.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the amusement park will end the long-running shows following criticism of how killer whales are treated in the wake of the documentary, “Blackfish.” The decision also follows efforts by California and federal legislators to ban the captive breeding of orcas, which would essentially stop SeaWorld’s theatrical shows.
The amusement park will instead create a new interactive orca experience with a “conservation message inspiring people to act.” The new exhibit will open in 2017.
According to the paper, the announcement was made on the company’s website ahead of a webcast Monday in which SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby and other senior executives outlined their plans for the company’s future. The announcement has since been removed.
The change follows heavy drops in the park’s profits and attendance after the 2013 documentary raised concerns about the confinement and captivity of the park’s orcas, blaming the conditions for one whale’s role in the death of three trainers.
SeaWorld reported an 84 percent drop in profits back in August, but blamed the decline on multiple external factors, such as a holiday timing and extreme weather.