MIAMI (AP) — SeaWorld is ending its practice of killer whale breeding following years of controversy over keeping orcas in captivity.
On Thursday, SeaWorld announced that the killer whales currently in the company’s care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld.
The company announced the breeding program will end immediately. The company also announced a partnership with the Humane Society.
The company will also end theatrical shows and introduce “new, inspiring natural orca encounters.” The new shows will begin next year at the SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.’s San Diego park, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019.
SeaWorld president and CEO Joel Manby said in a statement that the company introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas and is proud of its part in contributing to the human understanding of the whales.
He says the company is “reimagining” how guests will encounter orcas while providing visitors to the theme parks with “experiences that matter.”
— SeaWorld (@SeaWorld) March 17, 2016