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Unpack the trunk: Ringling’s elephants retire to Florida

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The last 11 touring elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus kicked off their retirement in Florida on Friday with a buffet brunch of carrots, apples, celery, loaves of bread and lots of hay. Circus spokesman Stephen Payne told The Associated Press the elephants arrived at the 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida after performing their final shows in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. They join 29 others already retired to the center after the circus announced…

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Scientists bemoan SeaWorld decision to stop breeding orcas

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There’s one last orca birth to come at SeaWorld, and it will probably be the last chance for research biologist Dawn Noren to study up close how female killer whales pass toxins to their calves through their milk. While SeaWorld’s decision last month to end its orca breeding program delighted animal rights activists, it disappointed many marine scientists, who say they will gradually lose vital opportunities to learn things that could help killer whales in the wild. Noren got to…

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With orca changes, SeaWorld must live without iconic Shamu

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SeaWorld built its brand on a leaping and splashing killer whale named Shamu. She was part of its logo, gave her name to stadiums in the theme parks and was the inspiration for rides. The orca image sold T-shirts and soft, stuffed animals for the kids to take home. With the company phasing out its killer whale program, it is forced to ponder the question: What is SeaWorld without Shamu? “The orcas were their most powerful engagement tool,” said Allen…

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Mitch Perry Report for 3.17.16 – SeaWorld takes seminal step for animal rights

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In a major announcement, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc. said Thursday it will stop breeding captive killer whales. On the company’s blog, the company said it’s phasing out over the next three years theatrical performances featuring orcas. “We will introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals.” For years, animal rights activists had protested in vain that holding such animals in captivity was the…

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SeaWorld ending orca breeding program; current killer whales will be its last

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Three years of pounding bad publicity about its orca programs have led SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Wednesday morning to announce the end of the theme park company’s iconic but controversial killer whale breeding program. The company announced early Wednesday that it would end the program and that the whales it has in captivity now would be its last. That means the shows and images of orcas will change radically at the parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego and eventually phase out as…

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SeaWorld acknowledges planting worker in animal rights group

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SeaWorld acknowledged that it sent its own workers to infiltrate an animal rights group which opposed the practices of the theme park. The development comes months after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused a SeaWorld employee of trying to incite violence while posing as a fellow animal rights activist. SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby vowed Thursday to end the practice, but said that it had sent its employees to protect the safety of its employees and customers. “We…

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Judge dismisses lawsuit brought by SeaWorld patrons

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A federal judge in San Diego has dismissed a class-action lawsuit brought by SeaWorld patrons who claimed they were deceived about how the marine park treats orcas and wanted refunds. The federal judge last week said that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit on behalf of patrons of SeaWorld parks in San Antonio, San Diego and Orlando. The plaintiffs claimed that hundreds of thousands of patrons wouldn’t have purchased tickets to SeaWorld parks if they knew how…

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