SeaWorld has announced a new 10 million-gallon killer whale environment in San Diego, nearly double the size of the existing facility. Similar environments are planned for SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio, the company said on Friday. The new facility measures 350 feet across and 50 feet deep, a size that SeaWorld says will “support the whales' broad range of behaviors and provide choices that can challenge the whales both physically and mentally.” SeaWorld also pledged $10 million in matching funds for orca research. The company's stock plummeted 33 percent on Wednesday when it reported weak second quarter earnings. SeaWorld's public image was hurt by the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," which examines the psychological effects of captivity on killer whales, specifically surrounding the deaths of three trainers working with an orca named Tilikum. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called SeaWorld's move "a desperate drop-in-the-bucket move to try to turn back the hands of time."
- Keith Wagstaff