California bans orca whale shows, forcing SeaWorld's hand
Thursday, September 15, 2016, 4:53 PM - SeaWorld might've said it, but California is making sure it happens.
The Golden State is officially the first state in the U.S. to ban the use of orca whales in entertainment shows, along with the breeding of killer whales in captivity.
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California Governor Jerry Brown approved a bill by State Assemblyman Richard Bloom on Tuesday. The bill holds SeaWorld accountable to state law for its plan to end orca entertainment shows and whale breeding.
If individuals or corporate establishments breed orcas in captivity, they're punishable with a fine of up to $100,000 USD.
The bill comes SeaWorld announced the end to its orca breeding programs and strenuous live performances in March 2016. The park outlined a goal to focus more on a more organic whale watching experience.
Twenty-four orcas remain in captivity at SeaWorld parks throughout California, Texas, and Florida.
"The bill does allow for SeaWorld to rescue and rehabilitate stranded orcas, with the goal of returning them to the wild, as is the case with all animals we rescue." the park said in a statement.
"And, if the federal government determines that the orca is not releasable, that animal could stay in SeaWorld’s care."
Related Video: Adorable sea lion pups return to the wild. Watch below.