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SeaWorld plans new killer whale environments

NEW YORK (AP) - SeaWorld says will build new, larger environments for killer whales at its theme parks, and will fund additional research on the animals along with programs to protect ocean health and whales in the wild.

Business for the Orlando, Florida, company has been hurt by negative publicity surrounding its treatment of killer whales. The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" suggested that captivity and SeaWorld's treatment of the whales provokes violent behavior, which in turn has led to the death of trainers.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. will build a tank with 10 million gallons of water at its San Diego park, almost twice the size of the current tank. The new environment will be called the Blue World Project, and SeaWorld said it will include features that will be more stimulating for the whales. Those include a "fast water current" that will allow the whales to swim against moving water. The facility will open to the public in 2018, and after that, SeaWorld said it will make similar changes at its Orlando and San Antonio locations.

The company did not say how much it is spending on the renovations.

The company also pledged $10 million in matching funds to support research focused on threats to killer whales in the wild, and announced a multimillion-dollar partnership focused on ocean health.

SeaWorld reported disappointing second-quarter results on Wednesday and said "Blackfish" hurt attendance. Its net income and revenue both fell short of Wall Street expectations and the company withdrew its financial outlook for the year.

Several entertainers, including country singer Trisha Yearwood and rock band Barenaked Ladies, have pulled out of planned performances at SeaWorld parks since the release of the movie. In July Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld said they were ending a 25-year marketing partnership at the end of this year. SeaWorld said the decision was mutual, and said it wants to concentrate on growing markets in Latin America and Asia.

SeaWorld stock closed at $18 on Thursday. That is its lowest price since the company went public in April 2013.

Is The 'Blackfish' Controversy To Blame For Low SeaWorld Profits?

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spydrworks1067 August 16 2014 at 11:39 AM

We could not build anything big enough for them.

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rbycdog August 16 2014 at 2:09 PM

They only agreed to tihs so to get more money they do not give a **** about the whales use them as a means for easy money like the circus boycott sea world and all circus forever.

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1 reply
scubaeqhp rbycdog August 16 2014 at 2:42 PM

And yet they thrive.....

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StormSister426 August 16 2014 at 12:04 PM

These are majestic creatures who need an ocean, not a tank. We should not be training them to "perform". Disgusting, SeaWorld. Shame.

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1 reply
elftoys4u StormSister426 August 16 2014 at 12:56 PM

Then millions of people would never even get to see them.

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2 replies
Marilyn elftoys4u August 16 2014 at 1:07 PM

Then take your next vacation in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Orca pods live there and you can see them in the wild ... the only place they belong.

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katyclaire elftoys4u August 16 2014 at 1:14 PM

Watch Discovery channel. They don't exist to entertain and educate humans.

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lamsantosantos August 16 2014 at 5:45 PM

They belong in the oceans roaming hundreds of miles not in a giant cement fish bowl! NO MORE SEAWORLDS!!

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rfirsten August 16 2014 at 3:46 PM

I really wish people would stop calling orcas "killer whales." First of all, they're NOT whales; they're the largest member of the dolphin family. Second, the epithet "killer" is so negative. All they're doing is what nature intended them to do as carnivorous predators. We might as well call ourselves "killer humans" since we also kill to eat and survive. Please, everybody, call them orcas.

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1 reply
DENNIS rfirsten August 16 2014 at 4:21 PM

You have to love the PC group

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kellytkck August 16 2014 at 6:37 PM

Nothing is big enough for these Orcas that swim 100-150 miles per day. This is only to quiet the protests so they can keep test poor magnificent animals captive and making money for them !

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blackcoffeeparty August 16 2014 at 6:16 PM

When you see the dorsal fin fall over on killer whales, dolphins it means that they are going to die soon. This happens to every one of the beautiful mammals that are trapped and forced to preform for humans.

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rbycdog August 16 2014 at 2:11 PM

Most people today are ill informed idots

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1 reply
scubaeqhp rbycdog August 16 2014 at 2:36 PM

You included.

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nancyert August 16 2014 at 10:56 PM

Blackfish is on right now on CNN, if you haven't seen it, go there now. I cannot watch it again. It is so sad, but so truthful.

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tonymaner August 16 2014 at 1:43 PM

Ok that's good but the only solution would be let the wonderful whales back into the sea where they can as nature provided. Building bigger tank are nothing but an excuse to say we are making it right and oh yes we want your money to see these wonderful creatures in the new enclosed captive tank. No thanks, it will be a cold day in hell when I or my kids return to this sea prison. I don't think so. I didn't need the documentary to alert me to the abuse, I have been to one of the prisons and walked out half way thru a little like the bull fights.

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2 replies
scubaeqhp tonymaner August 16 2014 at 2:41 PM

Not me. I love going to see these magnificent creatures and their abilities, beauty and grace. I would never get the pleasure if they were not there. I go as often as I can.

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tonymaner tonymaner August 16 2014 at 5:14 PM

You want to see these magnificent creatures, try a boat trip-you will see the beauty the grace and have the pleasure of knowing they are free. That's what you do if you really want to see the beauty.

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