AZA News Releases

Statement from AZA on Killer Whale Announcement by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment

Silver Spring, MD – This morning, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, an Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited member, announced major changes to its killer whale program. Kris Vehrs, Interim President & CEO of AZA, issued the following statement regarding SeaWorld’s announcement:

“Every member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums must make animal welfare decisions for the animals in their care. SeaWorld’s decisions to end its signature killer whale shows, and also its killer whale breeding program, were no doubt difficult, especially because of their decades long commitment to this species. As an AZA-accredited member, SeaWorld will continue to provide state of the art animal care to over 800 animal species. And its commitment to killer whales will not end with this announcement. Although killer whales will not be at SeaWorld facilities in the future, SeaWorld will continue to invest millions of research dollars into the study of these magnificent animals to help them to thrive in the wild."

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

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