Captive orca whales have been a part of Sea World's breeding programme for decades. Photo: iStock

Good news this morning, folks! Sea World in the USA is ending its captive orca breeding programme.

Sea World came into the spotlight in 2013 after ground-breaking documentary Blackfish shed a new perspective on orca whales kept in captivity in Sea World entertainment parks.

"The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change..."

Since then, Sea World has seen a decline in visitors to its parks and their shares have dropped by almost half since the film's release.

"Today's announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end," Humane Society of the United States president and CEO Wayne Pacelle told NPR.

Photo: Sea World

By ending captive breeding, it is a move towards no longer including orcas in shows whatsoever. It means that captive orcas will no longer be on display at Sea World Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.

This announcement comes after news was released that Tillikum, Sea World's largest and most well-known orca, is dying. He has a lung infection that can't be treated with drugs. He has lived in captivity for almost 33 years now.

In case you are wondering why you recognised the name, Tillikum was the main orca featured in Blackfish.

"It is a defining moment," Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of Blackfish told NPR. "The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change."

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