SeaWorld to end killer whale shows

Last updated at 16:35
Trainers work with Orca killer whales during a show at the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, California (19 March 2014)Reuters

SeaWorld, in the US state of California is to stop using killer whales in their shows.

The theme park's chief executive said that 2017 will be the last year of the orca show in San Diego.

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Ayshah's been looking into what's happening at SeaWorld

The company has faced years of pressure from people demanding a ban on whales being used in performances.

A film called Black Fish also criticised SeaWorld for keeping whales in captivity and said the animals can be a danger to their trainers.

People watch through glass as a killer whale swims by in a display tank at SeaWorld in San Diego (30 November 2006)AP
Campaigners say keeping whales in captivity is cruel

SeaWorld say the documentary is inaccurate and misleading and say they carry out vital research with the mammals.

But campaigning has hit the park hard and there has been a fall in the number of people visiting the company's 11 parks across the US.

One Direction's Harry Styles also asked fans not to visit the parks at his concert in July.

Visitors are greeted by an Orca killer whale as they attend a show featuring the whales at SeaWorld in San Diego, California (19 March 2014)Reuters
More than 1 million people signed a petition backing a ban on using killer whales in entertainment shows

Dramatic displays by killer whales are the main feature at three parks operated by SeaWorld, in California, Florida and Texas.

But in October, Californian authorities said SeaWorld were no longer allowed to breed animals in captivity.

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Should killer whales stay in parks?

SeaWorld say they will now replace the orca shows at its park in California, with an experience that's more focussed on the creature's natural behaviours and environment.