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SeaWorld sues California over breeding ban

SeaWorld Killer whales
SeaWorld officials say the California Coastal Commission don’t have the authority to ban captive breeding at the parks. Photo: Tophamworld/Twenty20

SeaWorld filed a lawsuit yesterday against the California Coastal Commission’s ruling banning captive breeding at the amusement park.

In October, SeaWorld San Diego was applying to build a new whale enclosure. The Coastal Commission approved the enclosure with the condition that the company stop its orca whale captive breeding program.

The Coastal Commission has jurisdiction over California’s coastline and is charged with ensuring environmental standards are met when residents and commercial businesses want to develop or redevelop the coastline.

In the lawsuit filed in San Diego, SeaWorld argues the Coastal Commission acted outside of its jurisdiction when it banned the captive breeding program.

Joel Manby, SeaWorld president and chief executive officer said they’ve violated state and federal law.

“By imposing broad new jurisdiction over all future SeaWorld marine animal projects, as well as aquarium projects elsewhere in the state, the Commission has overstepped both federal and California law,” Manby said in statement in October.

Park officials are hoping to build Blue World, a whale enclosure that has greater swimming depths and mimics killer whales’ natural surroundings more closely than their current enclosure.

SeaWorld Blue World
SeaWorld was dealt a major blow to it’s Blue World project when the Coastal Commission banned orca breeding. Photo: SeaWorld

The lawsuit comes just days after an 18-year-old orca whale died at SeaWorld San Antonio from a fungal infection.

According to CNN, the killer whale Unna suffered a resistant strain of Candida and was being treated for months.

It is the third whale death at the San Antonio park since mid 2015.

A premature beluga calf died in July and an adult beluga died in November of gastrointestinal complications.

Last month, SeaWorld San Diego announced they will be stopping the theatrical whale shows and introduce conservation based shows which show the killer whales acting like they would in the wild.

Those shows would take place in the same tanks in which the theatrical shows are being held now.

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