SeaWorld Ends Orca Program

From wild animals in their natural habitats -- to one of the world's most powerful predators, living in captivity under human supervision.

It was a bombshell announcement from the theme park, SeaWorld. The company says it will not be adding any new killer whales to its water parks. SeaWorld says its current generation of orcas will live out their days... and the program will be phased out.

As Martin Savidge reports, the announcement is a major U-turn for the company.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
THE ANNOUNCEMENT IS AS BIG AS THE CREATURES IT'S ABOUT…
SEAWORLD SAYS ITS RETIRING ITS STAR PERFORMER KILLER WHALES… AFTER DECADES OF SHOWS AND YEARS OF CONTROVERSY OVER ORCAS IN CAPTIVITY.
THE COMPANY REVEALING THE SURPRISE  IN A VIDEO TWEET…
(Natsot/Seaworld announcement) "The company who helped the world fall in love with Orcas will end all orca breeding and transition away from theatrical orca shows…."
SPEAKING THIS MORNING ON CBS THE COMPANY'S CEO SAID PUBLIC ATTITUDES HAVE CHANGED.
(Joel Manby, CEO, SeaWorld): "It's about where society is shifting. I have seen, clearly that society is changing their attitude about these unbelievable majestic animals being in human care."
FOR YEARS ANIMAL WELFARE GROUPS HAVE BLASTED SEAWORLD FOR THEIR KILLER WHALE PROGRAM… SAYING THE MAMMALS WERE TOO LARGE, TOO SMART AND TOO SOCIAL A CREATURE TO BE KEPT IN THEME PARKS.
NOW SEAWORLD SAYS IT WILL FOCUS MORE ON ITS ANIMAL RESCUE AND REHABILITATION EFFORTS EVEN PARTNERING WITH ONE OF ITS FIERCEST OPPONENTS, THE HUMANE SOCIETY
(Wayne Pacelle, CEO, The Humane Society): "We've been talking for the last three months very quietly."
MARINE BIOLOGIST NAOMI ROSE HAS WORKED MORE THAN 20-YEARS FOR THIS DAY...
(Naomi Rose, Animal Welfare Institute): "This is really stunning news."
SHE'S THRILLED, BUT SAYS KILLER WHALES CAN SURVIVE FOR DECADES AND WONDERS WHERE AND HOW THE REMAINING 28 ORCAS AT SEAWORLD WILL LIVE.
(Naomi Rose, Animal Welfare Institute): "They need to get out of those tanks, I don't think those tanks are good for them, and so I would like to continue dialogue that explores options such as seaside sanctuaries, coastal sanctuaries for those animals where they will be in more space and a more natural habitat..."
SEAWORLD HASN'T SAID SPECIFICALLY HOW IT'S GOING TO CARE LONG-TERM FOR ITS ORCAS...
RIGHT NOW IT'S JUST CONTENT WITH TAKING A BIG STEP TOWARD HOPEFULLY SOLVING AN EVEN BIGGER CONTROVERSY.


That brings us to this week's survey question.

We want to hear from you. Should animals typically found in the wild be kept in captivity? This will require you to do some research.

Some people feel captivity in a place like a zoo could be beneficial to endangered animals close to extinction -- and many argue that zoos are essential for research and educating the public about these species. Others say animals kept in captivity are deprived of their natural habitats and that wildlife should stay in the wild.

Let us know where you stand and after you vote, write to us and explain your choice. 

Instructional Links

Website Article: Defenders of Wildlife, Basic Facts about Orcas

http://www.defenders.org/orca/basic-facts

Website Article: SearWorld Cares, Killer Whales

https://seaworldcares.com/killer-whales/

Magazine Article: Scholastic Action, Should Orcas Be Set Free? April 14, 2014

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=95508025&site=eds-live&authtype=cookie,ip,custuid&custid=infohio

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