"All Day Orca Play'' begins at SeaWorld San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

"All Day Orca Play'' begins at SeaWorld San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - SeaWorld San Diego is scheduled to begin a program Saturday that will provide guests with in-depth looks at the park's killer whales.
   
"All Day Orca Play'' will introduce guests to each whale and their unique personalities, and include live chats with orca behaviorists and educators. It is scheduled to run for two months until the park's new show, "Orca Encounter,'' debuts.
   
"We are thrilled to offer guests this unmatched and uninterrupted experience with killer whales,'' said SeaWorld San Diego President Marilyn Hannes. "Our hope is that these extraordinary hour-by-hour encounters with our orcas will inspire our guests to protect wildlife and wild places.''
   
SeaWorld announced last year that it would discontinue its Shamu-style shows in favor of more educationally oriented presentations, and stop the breeding of captive orcas.
   
The opening comes one day after a Los Angeles-area congressman announced that he re-introduced federal legislation that would phase out the display of captive orcas.
   
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, said his Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act is meant to codify the changes made by SeaWorld into law and make them apply nationwide.
   
"Last year, SeaWorld made the voluntary and laudable decision to phase out orca captivity in its parks, but these changes need to be made permanent across the country not just at SeaWorld, but in all parks,'' said Schiff. "The ORCA Act would ensure that this is the last generation of orcas who live in captivity, and we will appreciate these incredible creatures where they belong, in the wild.''
   
He said his bill would reverse federal law that still allows for the capture or import of killer whales for display purposes.
   
In a statement, SeaWorld said, "The ORCA act would serve no purpose and is an unnecessary distraction from the important work we need to do to protect killer whales and our oceans.''
   
"We are focused on working with lawmakers, our millions of guests and fans along with animal advocates everywhere, to focus on protecting wild orcas and their habitats from threats like pollution, marine debris, and shipping traffic, and ending shark finning and commercial whaling,'' the statement said.

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