Thursday 27 July 2017

SeaWorld under federal investigation over impact of the 'Blackfish' documentary about orcas in captivity

Shares in the Florida based company fell 33 per cent on a single day in August 2014

SeaWorld killer whale Tilikum performs during the show
SeaWorld killer whale Tilikum performs during the show "Believe" at SeaWorld Orlando in Orlando, Florida, U.S. on September 3, 2009. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger/File Photo
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

SeaWorld is being investigated by two US federal agencies investigating disclosures and public statements by executives, including comments about the Blackfish documentary, which led to a public backlash against keeping orcas in enclosures.

Shares in the Florida based company fell 33 per cent on a single day in August 2014 when the theme park operator blamed the scrutiny of its treatment of animals for reported earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.

Blackfish, which was released in 2013, led activists to claim SeaWorld was keeping the creatures in small tanks instead of pens at sea.

Now, both the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission will also look at trading in the company’s securities before and during August 2014.

“The company has cooperated with these government inquiries and intends to continue to cooperate with any government requests or inquiries," a company filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, said.

SeaWorld has also set-up a special committee to help it handle the investigation, the document said.

In April, SeaWorld announced the birth of the last killer whale to be born at the theme park, just over a year after it decided to stop breeding the creatures following animal rights protests and declining ticket sales.

The theme park has said it is phasing out its orca shows, but activists have said they are unconvinced, with locations in San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando not expected to end their killer whale displays until 2019.

Independent News Service

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