Staying afloat: SeaWorld share price jumps after announcement the park will stop its killer whale breeding programme

 
Francesca Washtell
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Killer Whale That Killed Its Trainer Returns To Show At SeaWorld
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SeaWorld's share price jumped after the US theme park operator announced it will end its controversial killer whale breeding programme.

The company, which keeps 23 orcas in its three parks in the US, said today that the current generation of orcas will be the last. SeaWorld also said that from 2019 it will introduced "natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows" at its parks in San Diego from 2017, and San Antonio and Orlando in 2019.

SeaWorld Entertainment's share price rose by six per cent during US morning trading, but rose to seven per cent shortly after lunchtime.

The company's share price has been sinking since the release of the documentary Blackfish in 2013, which chronicled the alleged killings of the orca Tilikum, one of SeaWorld's star attractions, due to the effects of captivity.

After third quarter results in 2014 showed sales, revenue and visitor numbers slid as a result of the film, shares tanked by 10 per cent and have failed to recover to pre-Blackfish trading levels.

"As one of the largest rescue organizations in the world, we will increase our focus on rescue operations - so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go," SeaWorld chief executive Joel Manby said.

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