After increasing criticism over captive marine mammal treatment, SeaWorld announced on Thursday that it’s breeding program has been removed, with the current Orcas in their care to be the last generation of whales at its theme parks. The company has 29 Orcas, but will not be releasing them into the wild, with CEO Joel Manby stating “Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives…If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die. In fact, no orca or dolphin born under human care has ever survived release into the wild.”

Instead, SeaWorld will be creating natural orca encounters in place of their traditional theatrical shows.

SeaWorld announces immediate cease of breeding activities of Orcas

SeaWorld, in another uncharacteristic move, also announced a new $50 million, five-year partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, which will improve their educational programs and advocacy of animal welfare and marine wildlife to visitors. The pioneering partnership will also focus on increased rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals in the wild, and all SeaWorld parks will sell food from humane and sustainable sources.

You can read more via Joel Manby’s op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times here.

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