“The new Orca Encounter takes killer whale presentations to a new level of education, allowing us to inform millions of park guests over the next several decades about the natural history, physical abilities and the conservation steps necessary to ensure the future survival of this species in the wild,” said Marilyn Hannes, the theme park’s president.
The new facility will be designed to showcase killer whale behavior in the wild: how they move, what they eat, how they hunt, how they navigate, and even how they communicate. Guests will feel like they are taking part in a live documentary, according to SeaWorld.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and a group called Save Everyone’s Access spoke out against the project.
SeaWorld announced in March that it is ending the killer whale shows and transitioning to education-based presentations. It has also ended captive breeding of the animals.
Construction will begin in January 2017 and the new Orca Encounter will debut in the summer of 2017.
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