SeaWorld San Diego announced this week that it will put an end to its Shamu shows in the coming year. The park will not be getting rid of the whales, however, but it'll be adding a new exhibit that showcases the animals' natural habitat in an informative setting rather than have them on display to perform tricks.
This new move for SeaWorld comes after declining ticket sales, most likely as a result of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which outlined the controversy surrounding keeping killer whales in captivity. The movie, coupled with public outcry from organizations like PETA and various celebrities, have become hard for SeaWorld to ignore. Just this past Summer, during a concert in San Diego, One Direction's Harry Styles asked the audience if they liked dolphins and proceeded to say, "Don't go to SeaWorld," and PETA has been and continues to call for the parks to build sanctuaries for the animals and put a stop to the breeding.
"I'm a little surprised that they were open to pulling the plug on the orca show, but I think it's smart and I think it shows that the new management team is willing to put everything on the table and tackle some of the taboos that the prior team was unwilling to address," said James Hardiman, an analyst who covers SeaWorld for Wedbush Securities, to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
There's no word yet on whether or not the other SeaWorld parks will follow suit.