Twitter users skeptical of SeaWorld's decision to end orca breeding

The theme park's CEO announced Thursday morning in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that it will end orca breeding after this generation of whales. But many Twitter users were still critical.

SeaWorld’s announcement on Thursday morning that it will no longer breed killer whales in captivity after this generation lacked the appropriate heart and remorse, social media users said.

In early reactions to the marine park’s news, which it broke in a Los Angeles Times op-ed by SeaWorld president and CEO Joel Manby, Twitter users said the focus of his message was wrong.

In the op-ed, Manby, who stepped into the CEO role last April, said the move is a response to the "attitudinal change that [SeaWorld] helped to create." He explained that when the park opened in 1964, orcas were feared, hated, and hunted, but SeaWorld gave the public the opportunity to learn about the mammals and see them up close.  

Some social media users thought he should have apologized or admitted wrongdoing, rather than blaming the decision on "changing attitudes."

Manby also acknowledged the growing criticism SeaWorld has received from those who "don't think orcas belong in human care." The theme park’s reputation has suffered since the 2013 release of Blackfish, a documentary that negatively portrayed its treatment of orca whales.

SeaWorld also said it would partner with the Humane Society of the United States and donate $50 million to end commercial whaling and seal hunting over the next five years.

The company also disclosed that ending orca breeding will save $15 million in three to five years in marketing spending to improve its reputation.

SeaWorld's 2015 revenue was $1.37 billion, down slightly from $1.38 billion in the previous year. In the fourth quarter, it posted an adjusted loss of $9.6 million on $267.9 million in revenue.

The company’s stock was up by more than 4% on Thursday after the announcement.

Social media users also reacted critically to the timing of the announcement. Last week, SeaWorld said Tilikum, an orca featured in Blackfish, is dying.  

Here is a collection of early reactions to the announcement.

Others were happy SeaWorld is finally making changes.

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