California bans breeding, holding of killer whales in captivity

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)

(CNN) — California is now the first state to ban breeding and holding killer whales in captivity. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill Tuesday.

Under the new law, the killer whales already in captivity may remain in the state, but they can only be used for “educational presentations.”

SeaWorld — which operates a park in San Diego — had already announced similar changes; the end to its breeding program and the phase out of killer whale theatrical shows.

Read more: SeaWorld to stop breeding orca whales

The company has come under fire for its treatment of killer whales since the 2013 documentary “Blackfish.”

According to its website, SeaWorld San Diego plans to retain the 11 whales under its care.

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