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In a ceremony broadcast live to all three of its parks, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. just announced that it plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments at all three of its SeaWorld parks. It will also fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild. The new projects will build on SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art, innovative homes for its animals, and will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come. As part of its vision for the future, the company also pledged $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research and is embarking on a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health, the leading concern for all killer whales and marine mammals.

“For 50 years, SeaWorld has transformed how the world views marine life. The unprecedented access to marine mammals that our parks provide has increased our knowledge of the ocean and inspired generations,” said Jim Atchison, Chief Executive Officer and President of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “Our new killer whale homes and research initiatives have just as bold a vision: to advance global understanding of these animals, to educate, and to inspire conservation efforts to protect killer whales in the wild.”

Here’s a video of the announcement and an interview with SeaWorld Orlando park president Terry Prather:

Much more on this expansion including my thoughts on whether it will make a difference for SeaWorld, the animals, and guests below the jump: