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FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2016 | WEST HAWAII TODAY 4A in brief SEAWORLD SWANSONG Date: Sunday, March 20, 2016 Time: 9:30 a.m. Place: Kona Hongwanji Social Hall Free Admission Guest Speaker: Gavin Harrison Meditation Teacher Rev. Jiko Nakade - (808) 322-3524 Rev. Bruce Nakamura - (808) 323-2993 KONA HARDWOODS A Division of Roy Lambrecht Woodworking, Inc. MARCH’S SPECIALS: 30% OFF SPANISH CEDAR DOOR GUIDES (OLD) BLUM MOTION #562 SERIES IN-STOCK REV-A-SHELF ACCESSORIES Lamello Products 10% off – Biscuits & Glue Bottles Beautiful Koa, Mango, Monkeypod, Ohia & More 329-2877 LUMBER | PLYWOOD | MOULDINGS | HARDWARE CABINET SUPPLIES, BLUM, ACCURIDE, HAFELE, ETC 73-5573 KAUHOLA STREET • KAILUA-KONA WWW.ROYLAMBRECHTWOODWORKING.COM ORLANDO, Fla. — By announcing an immediate end to killer whale breeding Thursday, SeaWorld Entertainment hopes to reverse a public relations nightmare that has cost the company millions of dollars in lost attendance and legal fees. “We’ve been under attack for things we didn’t feel were legitimate, but unfortunately a narrative formed in America and we needed to remove that cloud,” Chief Executive Officer Joel Manby told analysts. “I feel relieved, because I think the company now can double down on growing the business and focus on positive, energetic, inspirational and creative things again.” Theatrical orca shows in all three SeaWorld parks will also end, replaced by exhibits highlighting whales’ natural behaviors. SeaWorld had already planned that in San Diego next year. San Antonio will follow, and SeaWorld Orlando will end the shows in 2019. SeaWorld has previously agreed not to take any more wild-caught cetaceans, meaning this should be its last generation of killer whales. The orcas it already owns — including one that became pregnant last year — will continue living at SeaWorld, likely for decades. The company has 29 orcas. Six of them are in a Spanish theme park. Average life spans have been debated but SeaWorld has several killer whales in their 30s and one that is close to 50. The Humane Society of the United States, a longtime adversary of SeaWorld, is now working with the company. The partnership includes a $50 million commitment from SeaWorld in the fight against shark finning and commercial slaughter of whales and seals. Theme-park experts said SeaWorld is recognizing Americans’ increasing opposition to using large animals for entertainment. “It’s a gutsy move by SeaWorld and a good one,” Pacific Asset Management analyst Bob Boyd said in an email. The company’s stock closed at $18.72 Thursday, up 9.3 percent. The stock went from $33.52 on its first day of trading in 2013 to a low of $15.11 the following year. Manby said most reproduction at SeaWorld happens naturally, and “we have birth control medication, basically.” He referred further questions to the company’s chief veterinarian, Chris Dold, who was not available for an interview. Dold said in an emailed statement simply that the company would use a combination of contraception and “social management” to keep female whales from getting pregnant. The Orlando-based company has yet to fully recover from “Blackfish,” the 2013 anti-captivity documentary that painted a damning portrait of SeaWorld. It has endured years of bad publicity. The latest round was a revelation this month that Tilikum, the orca most well known for killing a trainer in 2010, has a potentially fatal bacterial infection. SeaWorld said Thursday that Tilikum is showing slight signs of improvement. “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite was among the animal advocates who cheered SeaWorld on Thursday. “This is a defining moment,” she said in a news release. “The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change.” SeaWorld has buy-in from other advocates, too — most notably the Humane Society. The animal welfare group’s chief executive officer made joint appearances with Manby on Thursday on television news shows and during a media conference call. “I think this is a major turning point for the better for the country,” Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle told reporters. SeaWorld’s most vocal critic, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a brief statement it had seen a payoff from its campaign against the company. The group insisted, though, that SeaWorld must do more and “open its tanks to the oceans to allow the orcas it now holds captive to have some semblance of a life outside these prison tanks. Killer whale breeding program ends Conservatives plot Trump demise as he eyes Arizona win SUN CITY, Ariz. — Fearful of a Donald Trump nomination to lead the GOP, conservative leaders huddled privately in Washington on Thursday in search of a plan to stop the billionaire businessman. His Republican rivals braced for another Trump victory next week, this time in delegate-rich Arizona. The GOP has an eager alternative in Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, yet some party leaders are exploring “other avenues” instead of rallying behind the fiery conservative, an ominous sign that Republican leaders’ deep dislike of Cruz complicates their overwhelming concern about Trump. “The establishment is like a wounded animal, now cornered,” said Mark Meckler, an early leader in the tea party movement. “They are terrified, irrational and flailing wildly.” Even after being denied victory in five contests Tuesday, Cruz insists he still has a path to the 1,237 delegates necessary to claim the Republican presidential nomination. But in a strategy memo obtained by The Associated Press, his campaign essentially cedes Arizona’s March 22 primary to Trump and acknowledges Cruz must win 79 percent of the remaining delegates before the GOP’s July national convention. “This is the moment for all those who believe in a strong America to come together and craft a new path forward,” Cruz declared on Twitter while conservatives were meeting in downtown Washington to brainstorm ways to stop his party’s front-runner. By wire sources Takara, swimming with her new calf at SeaWorld in San Diego. Both Takara and her calf were conceived through artificial insemination. JACK SMITH/FILE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Trump


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