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Last ever orca show at SeaWorld San Diego this weekend

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This weekend will be the last time an orca show will take place at SeaWorld San Diego, in California.

The company announced in 2016 that it would be putting an end to all orca, or killer whale performance shows in their parks after a lot of pressure from celebrities and animal rights groups.

SeaWorld also has killer whale shows at two other parks in America, in Texas and Florida; they are planned to stop in 2019.

It's all come about after the company faced lots of criticism from people who say keeping the whales in captivity is cruel and unnecessary.

Trainers work with Orca killer whales during a show at the animal theme park SeaWorld in San Diego, California (19 March 2014)Reuters
SeaWorld parks have been criticised for their orca shows

The chain had another big setback when One Direction's Harry Styles urged his fans not to visit their parks. In October 2015, Californian authorities banned SeaWorld from breeding animals in captivity.

This summer, the park will unveil a new attraction in a renovated pool. 'Orca Encounter'. described by the company as an "educational experience" that shows how the whales eat, communicate and navigate.

The new show will still feature whales in captivity leaping out of the water and taking cues from trainers.

SeaWorld say many of the criticisms aren't fair and that they carry out vital research with the mammals. In announcing the closing of the shows, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said , "We are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals. As society's understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it."