SeaWorld San Diego ends killer whale show after Tilikum death

New 'Orca Encounter' will replace 'Shamu' shows this summer

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SeaWorld San Diego is ending its traditional killer whale show following outcry and falling attendance of the orca displays.

The 'Shamu' shows were dropped after the documentary Blackfish criticised SeaWorld's treatment of captive orcas.

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One of the killer whales that featured in the show at SeaWorld Orlando, Tilikum, died on Friday after suffering a bacterial lung infection. Tilikum had been at the park for 25 years and was 36 years old.

The last of the shows, which featured orcas cavorting with trainers and leaping out of the Shamu Stadium pool, will take place on Sunday, CNBC reports.

SeaWorld San Diego says it will introduce a new educational show this summer, which will feature the "natural behaviours" of orcas, showing how they move, hunt and navigate, as well as what they eat and how they communicate.

In a statement, the attraction said: "Our new 'Orca Encounter' will not only help our guests gain a deeper appreciation and respect for the orcas, but will leave them with a new sense of determination and purpose to help preserve the future of these majestic animals.

"We have already tested educational orca presentations here and they resonated very positively with our guests, reinforcing that we can be both fun and meaningful in our parks and with our animal exhibits and presentations."

Speaking to the San Diego Tribune, Al Garver, a former orca trainer and vice president of zoological operations, said: "You will still see a whale leaping out of the water.

"We want to be able to demonstrate behaviours people would see in the wild with the killer whales and their abilities as a top predator in the sea. The vast majority of behaviours people have seen in our shows will be very suitable for demonstrating that."

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