SeaWorld announced this week that it is planning on building its first park outside of the US... and it won't include killer whales.
After years of campaiging from animal rights groups such as Peta and Greenpeace, SeaWorld finally announced this year that it would cease it's orca breeding programme, meaning that no new killer whales would be born into captivity.
This was hailed as a step in the right direction for the company, which had been under mounting pressure to change following the release of the documentary Blackfish in 2013.
Now, the company has announced that it will be branching out of the US with a brand new park in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
The new park - which will be entirely Orca free - will be located on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, alongside the Ferrari World theme park, Yas Waterworld, and (from 2018) a Warner Bros Theme Park.
However, despite the organisation's moves to phase out killer whales from its attractions, it still finds itself under fire to release the remaining animals.
SeaWorld must open its tanks and release these long-suffering animals to ocean sanctuaries so that they can have some semblance of a life outside of prison tanks.
The only thing that people learn from visiting a SeaWorld theme park is how miserable life is for the animals confined there.
We're not talking about one or two Orcas in the late stages of their lives; according to SeaWorld's official website, there are 29 orcas still in captivity in its parks. They range in age from 1 to 51 -years-old.
Here's the full list by resort:
Makaio, 5yo - born in captivity
Malia, 9yo - born in captivity
Katina, 39yo - Icelandic
Trua, 11yo - born in captivity
Kayla, 28yo - born in captivity
Tilikum, 36yo - Icelandic
Nalani, 10yo - born in captivity
SeaWorld San Antonio:
Takara, 24yo - born in captivity
Tuar, 16yo - born in captivity
Sakari, 6yo - born in captivity
Kyuquot, 24yo - born in captivity
Kamea, 3yo - born in captivity
SeaWorld San Diego:
Ikaika, 14yo - born in captivity
Makani, 3yo - born in captivity
Keet, 23yo - born in captivity
Ulises, 38yo - Icelandic
Kasatka, 38yo - Icelandic
Shouka, 23yo - born in captivity
Kalia, 11yo - born in captivity
Nakai, 15yo - born in captivity
Orkid, 28yo - born in captivity
Corky, 51yo - North Eastern Pacific
Amaya, 1yo - born in captivity
Morgan, 8yo - Netherlands
Skyla, 12yo - born in captivity
Tekoa, 15yo - born in captivity
Adan, 5yo - born in captivity
Keto, 20yo - born in captivity
Kohana, 13yo - born in captivity
Peta add on their website:
To do right by the animals now, SeaWorld should follow the lead of the National Aquarium, which is moving all eight dolphins at its facility—including 17-year-old Jade, who was born at SeaWorld Orlando—to a seaside sanctuary, a decision that has been met with overwhelming public support. Captivity is killing these animals, and they deserve to be safely returned to their ocean home while still benefiting from humans’ care for as long as they might need to.