Orca shows to take final bow at SeaWorld San Diego

Posted at 1:39 PM, Jan 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-07 16:44:26-05
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - SeaWorld San Diego will present its last traditional orca show on Sunday as park officials prepare to debut a new, more educational production later this summer.
The current "One Ocean" show will be replaced on a temporary basis by "Killer Whale Presentation," which begins Monday, according to park officials.
The "Shamu" shows were dropped amid public and political pressure sparked by a documentary film that criticized SeaWorld's treatment of captive orcas.
SeaWorld denied the allegations in the film, "Blackfish."
An orca at SeaWorld Orlando that appeared in the film, Tilikum, died Friday after suffering a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection. The whale had been at the park for 25 years, and was estimated to be 36 years old.
SeaWorld San Diego said the show to debut this summer, "Orca Encounter," will feature a killer whale's "natural behaviors" by showing guests how they behave in the wild, how they move, hunt and navigate, what they eat and how they communicate.
"Our new `Orca Encounter' will not only help our guests gain a deeper appreciation and respect for the orcas, but will leave them with a new sense of determination and purpose to help preserve the future of these majestic animals," a statement from SeaWorld San Diego said.
"We have already tested educational orca presentations here and they resonated very positively with our guests, reinforcing that we can be both fun and meaningful in our parks and with our animal exhibits and presentations," the statement said.
"Orca Encounter" will open in Orlando and San Antonio within two years, according to SeaWorld.
There are currently 11 whales left at the San Diego theme park, the youngest is two-years-old and the oldest is 52. The park no longer breeds orcas.
The park said it plans to introduce new attractions, similar to the Electric Eel roller coaster announced earlier this week, over the next two years.
Last month, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced plans to open the first SeaWorld park without orcas in Abu Dhabi in 2022. The park will also be the entertainment group's first outside the U.S.
The company also announced last month ahead of the news on its Abu Dhabi location that it will cut 320 jobs across its 12 parks.