SeaWorld San Diego ends theatrical orca show - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SeaWorld San Diego ends theatrical orca show

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - The curtain has fallen on SeaWorld San Diego's famous orca show. 

After five years "One Ocean" pulled out the final stops on Sunday before a more educational production comes this summer. 

The show featuring tricks by killer whales is ending after years of outcry and falling attendance. 

The current "One Ocean" show will be replaced on a temporary basis by "Killer Whale Presentation," which begins Monday, according to park officials. 

The "Shamu" shows were dropped amid public and political pressure sparked by the documentary film "Blackfish" that criticized SeaWorld's treatment of captive orcas. 

SeaWorld denied the film's allegations. 

The infamous orca Tilikum, which was profiled in  "Blackfish" for killing a trainer in 2010, died Friday at SeaWorld Orlando after suffering a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection.  

The whale had been at the park for 25 years, and was estimated to be 36 years old. 

SeaWorld San Diego said the show to debut this summer, "Orca Encounter," will feature a killer whale's "natural behaviors" by showing guests how they behave in the wild, how they move, hunt and navigate, what they eat and how they communicate. 

"We're going to zoom in on our killer whales and really focus on the whales," said Seaworld Vice President of Entertainment Rick Schuiteman of the new show. "The show is going to be a little more educational. We're going to focus on research – we're going to focus on science." 

"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," a statement from SeaWorld San Diego said. 

The new show format will be a more natural encounter, with a rocky coastline and giant digital information screen.   

"People can still see the killer whales - they are not going anywhere," Schuiteman said. "They are going to be at SeaWorld for decades to come and we're going to do interim presentations so guests can still come out and see the whales."  

The whale trainers and the crew will also stay on at SeaWorld. 

"Orca Encounter" will open in Orlando and San Antonio within two years, according to SeaWorld.

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