SeaWorld to stop breeding orca whales

Killer whale Tilikum, right, watches as SeaWorld Orlando trainers take a break during a training session at the theme park's Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Fla., Monday, March 7, 2011.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

ORLANDO, FL (WFLA) — SeaWorld has announced they will stop breeding killer whales, making the current group the last generation of SeaWorld’s orcas, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Kasatka, Kalia, Ken Peters
FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2006, file photo, four killer whales, including Kasatka and her calf, Kalia, leap out of the water while performing during SeaWorld’s Shamu show in San Diego. A SeaWorld executive says orca shows at the company’s San Diego park will end by 2017. CEO Joel Manby cited customer feedback as the reason for the move in an announcement Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, to investors. Manby said the park would offer a different kind of orca experience and focus on the animal’s natural setting and behaviors. (AP Photo/Chris Park, File)

On Thursday morning, the Humane Society made the big announcement saying that the change will end the practice of keeping orcas captive at SeaWorld. They say the company currently has 30 whales, 23 of which were born in captivity. There will eventually be none.

The Humane Society worked with SeaWorld on these new policies and praises the reforms as “a major step forward toward a humane economy in which corporations respond and adapt to public concerns over animal welfare.”

SeaWorld ended live capture of killer whales and other marine mammals from the wild years ago and reaffirms that commitment, the Humane Society says in the announcement.

For more than two decades, the Humane Society has tried to make these changes. SeaWorld has had strong public criticism since the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which suggested the treatment of captive orcas provokes violent behavior. Park attendance dropped after the release of the documentary.

SeaWorld previously announced they would end orca shows at the company’s San Diego park by 2017. No change was announced for the SeaWorld park in Orlando.

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