SAN DIEGO — New metrics indicate that SeaWorld may be turning the corner on the way back to recovery. The organization had faced massive criticism, and serious public and financial backlash, over accusations in the 2013 movie Blackfish and charges from animal activist groupPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) relating to the well-being of orcas (killer whales) in captivity at SeaWorld parks.
With sinking park attendance, earnings, and stock price, SeaWorld set out to rebuild its reputation, and has been seeing success the Los Angeles Times reports. In 2014 park attendance was down 4.2%, but in the first three months of 2015 park attendance increased 5.6%.
The SeaWorld organization instated new Chief Executive Officer Joel Manby, revealed plans for massive new orca tanks, launched a $10 million ad campaign, and pledged funding for orca research and conservation.
In January of this year, SeaWorld unveiled massive habitat expansions for three parks. (PETA protesters crashed the event with signs that included, “A bigger prison is still a prison.”)
Last year, California legislators aimed to shut down SeaWorld’s captive breeding program and orca shows, Breitbart News reported. Assembly Bill 2140, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, was billed as a response to Blackfish. The legislature had called for an additional study and the bill has since died.
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