SeaWorld to phase out killer whale show in San Diego: report

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SeaWorld to Phase Out Killer Whale Shows in San Diego

Nov 9 (Reuters) - SeaWorld plans to phase out the killer whale show at its San Diego park next year after coming under longstanding criticism for its treatment of the mammals also known as orcas, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Monday.

Citing a SeaWorld document prepared in advance of a webcast to investors, the newspaper said the phase-out was part of a comprehensive strategy to re-position the company.

SEE ALSO: SeaWorld's future in doubt after Coastal Commission bans orca breeding at park

A new orca experience in a more natural setting will take the place of the park's long-running "Shamu" shows and debut in 2017, it said.

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SeaWorld to phase out killer whale show in San Diego: report
An orca swims at the Marineland animal exhibition park in the French Riviera city of Antibes, southeastern France, on December 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCH 20, 2014. SAN DIEGO, CA. During a night time performance at Shamu Stadium, a trained orca killer whale leaps above the pool at Sea World, San Diego, CA on March 20, 2014. In the aftermath of the documentary 'Blackfish', critics are suggesting an end to keeping whales captive for entertainment. (Photo by Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Orcas perform on August 11, 2013 at the Marineland animal exhibition park in the French Riviera city of Antibes, southeastern France. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Big Orca Sunset Spyhop
An orca swims with its calf at the Marineland animal exhibition park in the French Riviera city of Antibes, southeastern France, on December 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Female orca Wikie swims with her calf born by artificial insemination on April 19, 2011 at Marineland animal exhibition park in the French Riviera city of Antibes, southeastern France. Born on March 16, the two metre long baby weighing 150 kilos hasn't yet been called. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Orca killer whale (Orcinus orca), headshot
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The report comes a month after the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously to permit SeaWorld San Diego to expand its orca habitat on condition that the park also cease its captive-breeding program for the whales.

The commission's decision was seen as a major blow to the park's traditional centerpiece orca shows, named for the original Shamu of the 1960s and early 1970s.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc has faced heated criticism and declining admissions since release of the 2013 documentary film "Blackfish," which presented a dim view of how the company treats its orcas.

The park's plan to expand its orca pools drew opposition from animal rights groups and their supporters who wanted to see the park's collection of 11 killer whales released to the wild instead.

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