On the way towards ending orca captivity

17 March 2016: A statement issued today by US-based amusement park giant SeaWorld announced that the company discontinues its captive orca breeding program. The decision is motivated by a change in public opinion, which SeaWorld wanted to respect.

Ending the orca breeding program also means that holding these marine mammals in captivity will come to an end in the medium term. In view of their very clear statement, taking orcas born in the wild to SeaWorld parks seems inconceivable.

SeaWorld is responsible for more than half of orcas held in captivity worldwide. The company has been affected by significant drops in visitor numbers, losses of revenue, and damage to their image following the release of the critical documentary BLACKFISH.

“A groundbreaking decision that is also reflecting the findings of cetacean research – that it’s not possible to hold orcas in captivity in an adequate way”, says Nicolas Entrup, consultant to the international marine conservation organisation OceanCare, and founder of the Vienna-based agency SHIFTING VALUES, which had BLACKFISH screened also in Austria two years ago.

“The only sour note is that the entertainment park company continues to refuse including those orcas currently in captivity in rehabilitation and release projects”, says Entrup.