This post has been updated.

For the first time, SeaWorld representatives will interact directly with reporters and the public to address “Blackfish,” an explosive documentary that examines the park’s treatment of killer whales.

The park is one of the city’s largest employers, and one of its most significant sources of income when it comes to taxes and rent. But “Blackfish” made some big claims about the ethical treatment of animals and how the park is run. It sparked an emotional debate for many who sympathized with the animals or felt close ties to the San Diego attraction.

READ MORE: What We Learned About SeaWorld

So after covering the park’s economic footprint, non-Shamu services, backlash and damage control, we’re capping off our series with an event.

Thursday evening at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla, Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis and Lisa Halverstadt are co-moderating a discussion between:

• Susan Gray Davis, a former UC San Diego professor who wrote a book about the park’s business model

• Todd Robeck, who first joined SeaWorld as a veterinarian and now leads breeding and reproduction programs at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens

• Kristi Burtis, a senior animal trainer who has worked at SeaWorld San Diego for more than 26 years

• Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist with the Washington, D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute

Toward the end of the panel, we’ll be fielding questions from the audience by text (619-354-1085) and email (, prioritizing those that move the conversation along. We’ll get to as many as we can in the limited time we have with the experts, so please be patient.

Miss the big showdown? Check out the full recording below.

This event capped off our Quest: SeaWorld series digging into the park’s impact on our region. See what we learned during the quest in this handy overview.

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