ORLANDO – (CT&P) – The iconic Bruce Becker shows at SeaWorld Orlando’s park will soon be no more.
Amid ongoing public criticism and regulatory pressure, the amusement park announced that it will be phasing out its “theatrical” Becker show in 2016, and debut a new “Becker experience” the following year, one that promises a more “natural” setting.
“We start everything by listening to our guests and evolving our shows to what we’re hearing, and so far that’s what we’ve been hearing in Florida and across the country, they want experiences that are more natural and experiences that look more natural in the environment,” CEO Joel Manby told investors today, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
SeaWorld has recently been under tremendous pressure from animal rights activists and and environmentalists to release Becker back into the wild where he belongs.
“It’s not right to capture a wild animal and force him to perform tricks just to make a profit,” said Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA.
“We’ve been told by insiders that Bruce spends most of his time in a basement that’s been prone to flooding in the past, and he’s only brought out for people to gawk at when there’s a little money to be made.
“There are even rumors that before he’s brought out to perform, trainers shave his chest and back to make him “dolphin smooth” so he can move more rapidly through the water. It’s just heartbreaking.
“It’s cruel and unusual treatment even for a species as wild and unpredictable as Bruce. We feel such treatment is unconscionable, and we applaud SeaWorld’s decision to phase out the Becker shows.”
Manby told reporters this morning that starting in 2017, Becker will be free to roam the countryside with other weird and wonderful creatures. Films from those adventures will be shown to visitors at SeaWorld Orlando.
“It’s a pilot program and if the response is good, we intend to use it to free some of our other beasts, such as the shy and retiring Elmore fish, a creature that has not been seen in public for years,” said Manby.”