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SeaWorld cuts 350 positions across company

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 10/18/2017 Gabrielle Russon
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ORLANDO, Fla. — SeaWorld, which has struggled with declining attendance, announced Wednesday it is cutting 350 positions.

The company is laying off people and not refilling open positions across the company. The cuts primarily affect its corporate headquarters and the parks in Orlando and San Diego, said spokeswoman Aimee Jeansonne-Becka.

Becka said the cuts mostly affect administrative positions and jobs that do not deal directly with the public. She stressed the company is still dedicated to its animal rescue and rehabilitation, which was not impacted.

SeaWorld executives had previously said their goal was to save $40 million through 2018.

"It's hard," Becka said. "These type of initiatives affect real people, but it's what we need to do to move the business forward."

Employees who lost their jobs were being notified Wednesday. They will receive severance pay and help in finding new work, Becka said.

Becka could not comment on the savings SeaWorld would gain from cutting 350 positions but said the company plans to use that money for new rides and to boost advertising to help grow attendance numbers.

"We remain committed to creating world-class guest experiences, providing comprehensively for the care of all our animals, and continuing our company's focus on stranded marine animal rescue and ocean conservation initiatives," the company said in a statement.

SeaWorld, which has dealt with a backlash from the anti-captivity documentary "Blackfish," has had layoffs most recently in December as well as in 2010 and 2014.

There are about 2,750 workers employed at SeaWorld San Diego, although during the park's peak summer season, the number of employees can be as high as 4,200.

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