Animal rights activists are calling for further measures to shut down remaining orca shows at SeaWorld parks after the company announced that its controversial performances will end at its San Diego park by 2017.
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who plans to introduce federal legislation to end captive orca breeding, said ending the shows is a good first step but doesn't go far enough.
"The fact still remains that as long as SeaWorld holds orcas in captivity, the physical and psychological problems associated with their captivity will persist," he said.
Declining profits at SeaWorld saw the company, which owns and operates three parks with orcas in the United States, report third-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations, just days before the San Diego announcement.
People took to Twitter to demand that it wasn't enough, some even asking SeaWorld also shut down its other shows in Orlando and San Antonio:
They're ending the killer whale show at San Diego Sea World (': bring this to Orlando pls— madison (@tacoxqueen) November 9, 2015ADVERTISEMENT
Great news! @SeaWorld is phasing out orca performances at their San Diego location. Let's hope San Antonio and Orlando soon follow.— Nick Major (@Nick_Major) November 9, 2015
Whilst SeaWorld confirmed the change will not affect its other parks:
SeaWorld: "The change is a reflection of input we’ve received in San Diego. It does not affect our other parks." #orcas— James Cook (@BBCJamesCook) November 10, 2015
CEO Joel Manby said the San Diego park would offer a different kind of orca experience and focus on the animal's natural setting and behaviors, citing customer feedback as the reason for the change.
The company has seen revenue drop since the release of the documentary "Blackfish" that criticised its treatment of killer whales in captivity.
Earlier this year Rob Lott, an orca expert from the WDC told the Huffington Post UK: "Captive orcas, like at SeaWorld San Diego, are sad caricatures of their wild counterparts as, when not performing in the circus style shows, they spend the most of the time logging at the surface."
SeaWorld earlier this year announced plans for a $100 million (£66 million) expansion of the killer whale tanks in San Diego to boost attendance, but the California Coastal Commission made approval of the project, dubbed "Blue World," contingent on SeaWorld agreeing not to breed, transfer or sell any of its captive orcas at the park.
Manby called the ruling - which SeaWorld plans to fight in court - a bad precedent for not only SeaWorld but all zoos and aquariums. He indicated to investors that the company might shelve the San Diego project.