CNN Money reports that SeaWorld is planning to open its first park outside of the United States — without killer whales. The beleaguered marine park has reached an agreement with Miral Asset Management to open a new location in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island in 2022. The new whale-free park is most likely part of the company’s attempt to improve its image after facing fierce backlash caused by the heart-breaking documentary, Blackfish.

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After years of pressure from animal rights groups about their treatment of captive killer whales, SeaWorld pledged to end its Orca breeding program and phase out its whale shows after the release of the 2013 documentary. Undoubtedly, the new Abu Dhabi location is meant to give the park’s reputation a boost outside of the US as well as attract more tourist dollars to the man-made island.

Related: SeaWorld to end killer whale shows in San Diego

“This announcement reflects the emirate’s ambition to create a sustainable, diversified economy, with tourism as one of its core pillars,” said Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of Miral Asset Management, the company that manages Yas Island.

The new SeaWorld Park will be joining other high profile entertainment sites on Yas Island such as the Ferrari World theme park, Yas Waterworld, and a forthcoming Warner Bros Theme Park. CNN Money reports that the site will include the UAE’s first marine life research and rehabilitation center.

Via CNN Money

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