Last week SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment announced plans to revive its Dine with Shamu killer whale show which was suspended last February after the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. Brancheau was killed after a Dine with Shamu show when Tilikum the orca grabbed her ponytail and dragged her under water. Several park guests were still in the area during the ordeal.
In the Dine with Shamu show guests sit poolside and eat a meal while watching the whales and trainers interact with each other. The show was a popular and lucrative venture for the company who charged up to $40 a ticket per adult.
The reinstatement of the show may be an attempt to put the company’s recent bad press behind them, which along with inclement weather and a soft economy may be factors in a recent slump in the company’s profits. The Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Service reported last December that attendance at the SeaWorld Parks dropped by 6% last year, and revenues declined by $200 million.
A spokesperson for SeaWorld said Tilikum, who has been kept isolated in a small pool out of the view of the public since the accident, will not be part of the show.
The shows are set to resume by this spring.