In a stunning announcement, SeaWorld’s President & CEO Joel Manby and the Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle, told TV viewers this morning that they had aligned in an effort to help rescue injured and threatened marine mammals in the wild and as part of their partnership, SeaWorld would end its captive orca breeding program.

SeaWorld provides more details on its website:

We’re making historic announcements at SeaWorld, including ending orca breeding, introducing new, inspiring and natural orca encounters, and launching new partnerships to protect oceans and marine animals. We’re creating a new vision for SeaWorld that will help us deliver on our mission that every guest who walks through our doors will be inspired to take action to help protect wild animals and wild places.

When SeaWorld opened its doors more than 50 years ago, killer whales were feared and even hunted. Now, they are among the most beloved marine mammals on the planet thanks, in part, to the inspirational encounters we’ve provided to more than 400 million guests.

The new vision for SeaWorld reflects changes in society and SeaWorld’s evolution with those changes, including ending killer whale breeding, new inspiring natural orca encounters, and new partnerships to protect oceans and marine animals.

Mr. Manby explained that the public has changed its point of view about the Orcas at SeaWorld, and the decision to end the decades-long breeding program reflected the publics concern about Orcas held in captivity.  Notably Mr. Manby pointed out that without the expertise of professionals, equipment, and state of the art facilities at SeaWorld, they would be unable to continue to rescue thousands of animals and nurse them back to health.

This will clearly be a centerpiece of the company moving forward and a benefit to everyone, including the animals both CEO’s admitted everyone cared about.