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SeaWorld announces it will end its Orca captivity program

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Trainers (from left) Joe Sanchez, Brian Faulkner and Kelly Aldrich work with orcas Trua (front to back) Kayla and Nalani during the "Believe" show in Shamu Stadium at the Aquatica by SeaWorld theme park in Orlando, Fla., in 2011.

The ocean animal park is throwing its killer whale breeding program overboard to, in the words of their CEO, "take a new direction."

There has officially been a sea change at SeaWorld.

The ocean animal park is throwing its killer whale breeding program overboard to, in their words,  "take a new direction."

The announcement came from SeaWorld's CEO Joel Manby in an LA Times op-ed article.

SeaWorld's decision comes after years of declining attendance numbers and pressure from advocacy groups. Perhaps the most famous of this pressure came from the documentary "Blackfish" which directly criticized the Park's killer whale performances as harmful and dangerous. 

For more on what this announcement means, Take Two's A Martinez spoke with Lisa Halverstadt from the Voice of San Diego.

On why it was time for SeaWorld to make this change

SeaWorld has faced a lot of backlash since 2013 since [Blackfish'] came out. That documentary raised a lot of questions about the treatment of killer whales in captivity and kind of led to not only a lot of folks who had been maybe going to SeaWorld... to question the company. But also state legislators  and lawmakers have stepped in. Their attendance has been down. Their revenues have been crashing. They faced a lot of backlash and struggles the last few years.

On what will happen to the Orcas currently in captivity. 

Those killer whales will actually remain at SeaWorld. There's also a calf that's supposed to be born soon. PETA had suggested  that the whales should be put into sea pens. But SeaWorld and the Humane Society chief... were both adamant that experience has shown that that would not be safe for these Orcas. So they will continue to live in captivity. They just won't be performing in captivity any more or continuing to breed the Orcas. 

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above.

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