SeaWorld Cuts Hundreds Of Jobs

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SeaWorld announced the cutting of 350 jobs on Oct. 18 amid a drop in attendance at its parks across the U.S.

SeaWorld will eliminate 350 jobs at its locations in Orlando, Florida, and San Diego, California, in the wake of low park attendance, according to CNN Money.

According to figures released by SeaWorld in August, attendance at its parks dropped by more than 350,000 during the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

"It is an unfortunate, but necessary, consequence of the restructuring that some positions will be lost," said  SeaWorld spokeswoman Aimee Jeansonne Becka.

The company noted that the decline in visitors was "largely concentrated at the company's SeaWorld parks in Orlando and San Diego." The company added that the drop was bound up with "public perception issues."

Criticism of the company's practices has grown over recent years, particularly following the 2013 documentary "Blackfish." The film detailed how SeaWorld allegedly kept orcas in captivity, along with the impact captivity had on the health of the animals.

SeaWorld alleged the dorsal fins of orcas in the wild collapse just like 100 percent of the adult males in captivity. However, scientific literature has not confirmed adult males in the wild suffer the same fate, HuffPost notes.

SeaWorld threatened to sue the state of California, which challenged the company over its policy of breeding whales in captivity. SeaWorld ultimately ended its orca breeding program.

A 2016 report found that killer whales in captivity suffer from severe tooth damage.

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A study published in the September 2017 edition of the Archives of Oral biology examined the teeth of 29 orcas held in captivity at SeaWorld's U.S. and Spanish parks.

"Every whale had some form of damage to its teeth ... more than 65 [percent] possessed moderate to extreme tooth wear in their lower jaws, mostly as a result of chewing concrete and steel tank surfaces," wrote Dr. John Jett, one of the authors of the study.

Dr. Ingrid Visser, another author of the study, added, "The teeth of captive orca are incredibly compromised and you just don't see this type or level of damage in the wild."

"We have documented more than 60 [percent] of the second and third teeth of the lower jaws were broken...” said Dr. Carolina Loch, another author of the study.

"...[T]he damage to the teeth of these animals is so severe that most individuals can be identified by the specific fractures and tooth wear alone, much like forensic pathologists use for identification of humans post-mortem," said Jordan Waltz, another author.

SeaWorld executives previously said the various controversial issues had no negative impact on visitor numbers. Some executives are now under criminal investigation for misleading shareholders.

Sources: CNN Money, HuffPost / Featured Image: Alberto/Flickr / Embedded Images: Christian Benseler/Flickr, Ahodges7/Wikimedia Commons

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