After stock plummets, SeaWorld announces new tanks for orcas - Tucson News Now

After stock plummets, SeaWorld announces new tanks for orcas

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Dan Decker, president of SeaWorld San Antonio, talks about the new tanks planned for the park's killer whale exhibit. (Source: KENS/CBS) Dan Decker, president of SeaWorld San Antonio, talks about the new tanks planned for the park's killer whale exhibit. (Source: KENS/CBS)

SAN ANTONIO (KENS/CBS) - In the wake of news that its stock has plummeted, SeaWorld unveiled plans for new attractions and $10 million in funding for research and conservation projects.

The company announced it will open the first-of-their-kind killer whale exhibits as part of the Blue World Project.

The first exhibit will open in San Diego, then Orlando and later in San Antonio.

"We will have the largest underwater viewing you can ever imagine, which is what the rendering really is to show you," said Dan Decker, SeaWorld San Antonio park president. "Because you can really see how people can get up close and connect with them in a way you've never been able to before."

The plans call for a 50-feet-deep habitat with views more than 40 feet high, benefiting not just park patrons, but the animals themselves.

"With that we will make better arrangements for our animal husbandry and animal care folks to work with our animals and make sure they have even better care than they have today, which is the best state-of-the-art care in the world," Decker said.

That care the animals receive has been under scrutiny ever since the release of the documentary Blackfish, which placed Sea World in a very unfavorable light.

Just this month SeaWorld announced its stock prices had plunged 33 percent since the release of the documentary.

PETA responded to the announcement saying it was a desperate move to save the company.

"What could save it would be the recognition that it needs not to make larger tanks but to turn the orcas out in seaside sanctuaries so that they can feel and experience the ocean again, hear their families and one day be reunited with them," PETA said in a statement. "A bigger prison is still a prison."

SeaWorld called Blackfish misleading and inaccurate. Park officials said they love killer whales just as much as everybody else, and called the construction of this new state-of-the-art larger habitat proof of that.

Copyright 2014 KENS via CBS. All rights reserved.

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