Activists pressure SeaWorld to retire 50-year-old whale

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SAN DIEGO — A group of activists submitted a petition to Mayor Kevin Faulconer Tuesday, asking city officials to pressure SeaWorld to retire Corky, a killer whale at the theme park for about 25 years.

Martha Sullivan later told the City Council the petition contained nearly 1,600 names gathered over about two weeks.

“It is time to retire her, just as other performing animals are retired to a sanctuary to live out the rest of their lives in some semblence of their natural (habitat), and without having to perform, without having to be subjected to loud noise and constant stress of living in a complete unnatural environment,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan spoke during an open comment session in which council members are not allowed to respond. The Mayor’s Office had no immediate comment.

SeaWorld has come under intense criticism since the release of “Blackfish,” a 2013 documentary that raised allegations that orcas were mistreated at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld executives have vehemently denied the accusations.

SeaWorld said “Corky is loved by her trainers who have passionately cared for her for more than 45 years. She is happy, health and continues to thrive in our care.”

“The claims by a handful of extremists are not only unfounded, but completely out of touch with reality. Corky, who is 50 years old, has been one of the world’s most important ambassadors for killer whales and has brought inspiration and joy to hundreds of millions of park guests,” the statement said.

Thursday will be the 45th anniversary of Corky’s capture, according to Sullivan.


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