Following heavy criticism from animal activists, SeaWorld announced today that they will be building a new theme park in the Middle East without its iconic orcas.
In partnership with Miral
, which operates four other theme parks including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the park will still have attractions, an aquarium, and close-up animal encounters.
The company says this "First-of-its-kind marine life theme park" will be located on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, and will include the area's first marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center.
Miral, which is backed by the Abu Dhabi government, will fund the entire project, while SeaWorld will merely license its brand and assist with animal care.
SeaWorld will incur no capital expense, reports the Orlando Sentinel
The company has yet to release any info regarding the cost or size of the project, but says the new theme park is set to open in 2022.
Today's announcement comes only a few months after SeaWorld said they would end its controversial orca breeding program.