SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., a theme park and entertainment company, released its inaugural 2016 Corporate Responsibility report providing an overview of its operations that the company says support its mission to provide experiences that matter, inspiring people to protect animals and the wild wonders of the world.
SeaWorld has made several moves in response to backlash spurred largely by the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” raising issues about the treatment of captive orcas. In San Diego County, the company owns and operates SeaWorld San Diego at Mission Bay, along with the Aquatica water park in Chula Vista. In January, SeaWorld San Diego presented its final killer whale performance show.
According to SeaWorld Entertainment, the inaugural report showcases the actions SeaWorld is taking to ensure the health and well-being of the animals in its care, rescue and protect animals in the wild, minimize the environmental impact of its operations and create a strong culture where employees are engaged and connected to the company’s mission.
SeaWorld Entertainment’s report said it is the world leader in animal rescue, a commitment that, together with materials, facilities and equipment, has been valued at approximately $10 million annually.
The company report stated that in 2016 SeaWorld provided $3.5 million in cash donations to conservation organizations and local community nonprofit organizations. SeaWorld has also supported the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund since its founding in 2003. In 2016, the fund granted $1.6 million in support for wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and conservation projects around the world.
SeaWorld said its parks (Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio), Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay are accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), reflecting SeaWorld's commitment to applying world-class standards of animal care. The company said it continues to make efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations.
On the employment front, the SeaWorld report said half of its leaders are women and 43 percent of its leaders are minorities, reflecting its commitment to diversity.
“This first Corporate Responsibility Report is an important step in SeaWorld’s commitment to be open, transparent and proactive in how we engage and communicate on key issues,” said Joel Manby, CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment. “We hope it will provide a platform for ongoing conversation and feedback from our stakeholders.”
The company reported a net loss of $12.5 million for 2016, and a nationwide drop in attendance of 2.1 percent, while attendance at its California locations was relatively flat year-over-year.