SeaWorld’s third-quarter net income fell 28 percent compared to 2013, according to financial results released by the company on Wednesday. As reported in Business Insider, the marine park chain’s shares were down more than 10 percent following news of the drop.
SeaWorld has been struggling for more than a year. The decline began with the July 2013 release of Blackfish, a CNN documentary that questioned the treatment of SeaWorld’s orca whales. Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite was inspired by a feature in Outside detailing the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau, a SeaWorld trainer who was killed by six-ton orca named Tilikum. Two months prior to Brancheau’s death, a trainer at a Canary Islands zoological park was also killed by an orca he’d been training.
Attendance at SeaWorld parks also dropped by half a million people in the third quarter compared to 2013, from 8.9 million to 8.4 million. In its financial analysis, the company attributed this decline to a “combination of factors including negative media attention in California along with a challenging competitive environment, particularly in Florida.”
CEO Jim Atchinson said the company is executing a cost-savings plan and adjusting its attraction and marketing plans and feels confident that “these actions will enable us to overcome current challenges we face and enhance our competitive standing.”