SeaWorld to End Orca Breeding Programs and Live Shows

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., one of the leading theme park and entertainment companies, today announced that the killer whales – or orcas – currently in the company’s care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld. The company will end all orca breeding as of today. SeaWorld's parks will also introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of their ongoing commitment to education, research, and rescue of marine animals. 

These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year (click on the image below to view the full-size version of the artwork depicting San Diego's new orca habitat), followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.


SeaWorld also announced today a broad new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home. The company is committing to educating its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals, and other marine creatures. 

“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

“SeaWorld’s commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS. “Today we turn a corner, working together to achieve solutions on a wide set of animal issues including sunsetting the use of orcas at existing facilities; maximizing SeaWorld’s focus on rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for marine mammals in the wild; and sourcing food for animals and customers from humane and sustainable sources, including cage-free eggs and crate-free pork.”

“We are pleased to join with HSUS on the significant issues facing marine mammals and their ocean homes,” said Manby.  “The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals. To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world’s leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning.”

The current population of orcas at SeaWorld – including one orca, Takara, that became pregnant last year – will live out their lives at the company’s park habitats, where they will continue to receive the highest-quality care based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science, and zoological best practices.  Guests will be able to observe these orcas through the new educational encounters and in viewing areas within the existing habitats.

SeaWorld reaffirms its commitment not to collect marine mammals from the wild.  It has not collected an orca from the wild in nearly 40 years, and the orcas at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent almost their entire lives in human care.  These orcas could not survive in oceans that include environmental concerns such as pollution and other man-made threats.

IMAGES: © 2016 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Shame on the new executives that are in it to ruin this company. Today is the day SeaWorld died. I wish I had enough money to buy SeaWorld back and get rid of these people. I was looking forward to manby and now all he will be known for is destroying a wonderful place. Totally devastated. My platinum pass will be returned. I am done.

  2. The show is what brought people to the park. Yes there are other shows, but the whales are the main show. It's just sad that people want this.

  3. I also commend SeaWorld for being the bigger person and understanding the possibility of both not having Orcas in the parks while also still educating the public on the importance of the oceans the wildlife that lives within it. I feel the park can still thrive without Orcas even though that was initially their main draw, but I feel the company has changed the focus on how to keep guests returning without the need to display such massive animals that do in fact require a much larger body of water than what they can provide. I for one have an annual pass to SeaWorld and will continue to go to the park years into the future because I love everything about them, and now I love them even more for making this important decision that I believe in the long run will make everyone happy.

  4. 3rd Anonymous, may ask why? What is the company doing to keep guests coming because the most recent ride being Antarctica that sure was a flop. All the other coasters are constantly breaking down on a daily basis. Journey to Atlantis none of the effects work inside even after its yearly refurbishment. Don't even get started on Wild Arctic. Whale shows are ending now just give it time and the others will be gone too. What is SeaWorld offering guests in the future to keep them coming. SeaWorld was about animal experiences and shows. Its what they did right. I'm a pass member for over 20 years. I will also be cancelling mine as well

  5. People are over reacting. The Killer whales will still be there and there are plenty of other animal shows and exhibits. The dolphin show and exhibit is incredible. Sea world has the top three coasters in Orlando and has the the best "Christmas" celebration of all three Orlando parks. The ocean is filled with all kinds of marine life they can bring to the park. Killer Whales are just one of them. Shame on you Kyle.

  6. Why Kyle? Kraken, Mako, Manta, Journey to Atlantis, Manta Aquarium, Dolphin Cove, Pacific Point, Reserve, Turtle Trek, Shark Encounter, String Ray Lagoon, Bands Brew & Barbecue, Praise wave, Sea World Christmas Celebration. Wild Arctic, Clyde and Seamore show,Pets Ahoy and Blue Horizons, all with the best price for a season pass in Orlando. Better than the over rated, over priced, Mouse down the street.

  7. Mamby did what he had to do to save the company from bankruptcy. Atchison's Blue World project would have been a huge waste of money that could be spent on new attractions that will actually bring in more attendance. When you take into consideration all with all of the bad press, legislative pressure, and the fact that Sea World has been losing money, they had to do this for the long-term survival of the company. It's better just to cut it off and move on than go into bankruptcy trying to fight it.

  8. I just realized I spelled Manby's name wrong, sorry about that!

  9. Ok HSUS has already said on Facebook that this was just a start today that they will not be satisfied until all the animals are out of SeaWorld. You don't believe me go ask them. Orcas are a huge victory. activist have 1 win now so they are motivated to continue down the road until they are all gone. Also Manby did not rule out about releasing the whales to sea pens. He left the opportunity open and said they will revisit the issue over the years to come. You guys don’t get it and you are not getting the point. Yes orcas are one animal of many species in the ocean but the activist groups want them all gone. And manby seems to be best buds with these groups now so SeaWorld and Busch Gardens having animals will be no more. Give it a few years and you will see I am right.

    So now lets discuss your list.
    The following will be closed. Give it time. Dolphin Cove, Pacific Pointe Preserve, Blue Horizons, Clyde and Seamore, Turtle Trek, Shark Encounter, Pets Ahoy, Wild Arctic animal displays, Penguins in Antarctica. I don't know activist positions on sting rays so that lagoon and Manta Aquarium who knows about them but I would assume those too.

    So that leaves you with Kraken, Mako, Manta, Atlantis. Woo hoo. What a value
    Bands Brew & Barbecue, Praise wave I will give that to you but it’s not enough to stay an entire day.

    Summer Nights and Christmas celebration revolves around special night shows WITH animals. Light up the Night, Miracles, O Wondrous night. Clyde & Seamore if they ever decide to bring that back which I doubt. Whats left that makes these stellar events?

    Firm Seaworld believer for over 2 decades and they have caved to the phonies. Hope your all happy when SeaWorld parks are the next six flags.

  10. I guess to see animals caught from the wild living in a fake environment I will have to go to Disney's Animal Kingdom or Nemo at Epcot now. I'm glad that Disney is taking a stand against this stuff. They built a Dumbo circus area so families can remember the good ole days of elephants being whipped to perform by clowns. Having the cast of Nemo happily locked up in an aquarium is what the film was all about. I can even see horses happily dressed up pulling princess carriages and they love having their pictures taken.

    What's next Universal closing Animal Actors and having no animals at its theme park at all? Good luck people only go to Universal to see the Animal Actors show.

    I dont know how Sea World will survive or why they are the only park targeted


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