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SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Kim / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

British travel giant Thomas Cook announced over the weekend it will stop offering tickets to animal attractions that keep killer whales in captivity.

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Summer is a time for escape reading. But that designation need not be limited to fiction; books written for the general reader on topics outside one's area of expertise can also provide passage to exciting new places. This month's bookshelf includes six non-fiction titles, five novels and one collection of short stories. The last three titles are now in paperback, suitable for a vacation or some beach time. Good reading to you!

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

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According to Bloomberg, "SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. received a subpoena earlier this month from regulators investigating disclosures and public statements by executives, including comments about the Blackfish documentary that caused a public backlash against the confinement of orcas.

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Kasatka, a female orca who lived in captivity for nearly four decades, was humanely euthanized Tuesday night at SeaWorld San Diego. She was approximately 41 years old.

The ocean park announced that the mother of four, grandmother of six and great grandmother of two died at approximately 8:15 p.m. "surrounded by members of her pod, as well as the veterinarians and caretakers who loved her."

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By Amanda Froelich

According to a new report by SeaWorld, Tilikum—the infamous killer whale involved in the deaths of three people—died today. The well-known orca, thought to be about 35-years-old, was the focus of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," which criticizes the marine park for keeping killer whales and other aquatic wildlife in conditions deemed to be less-than-ideal.

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On the morning of Jan. 6, one of SeaWorld's most well-known orcas, Tilikum, passed away surrounded by trainers, care staff and veterinarians at the Orlando, Florida ocean theme park where the famous killer whale lived most of his life.

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Nanuq was held captive at SeaWorld properties. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society / Nicolas Dumenil

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society launched a series of images today illustrating the tragic fates met by real-life captive cetaceans.

The images come just as the holiday season begins and families are making choices about how to spend their money on entertainment. The pictures are being published to educate and deter travelers around the world from buying tickets to marine shows, swim-with-dolphin programs and other similar animal encounter experiences.

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Sea Shepherd Conservation Society partnered with a group of Hollywood industry heavyweights and a middle school from the Los Angeles Unified School District on a student filmmaking contest.

The winner's film was released as Sea Shepherd's official PSA this morning for World Oceans Day.

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Captive dolphins at Marineland Antibes in France. John Clift

By Laura Bridgeman

The French government passed new legislation earlier this month aimed at phasing out all dolphin and whale captivity, a move that reflects growing public awareness and concern over the poor living conditions cetaceans are forced to endure in captivity.

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Meet Takara, a 25-year-old pregnant orca living in SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas. Takara's newborn, expected to arrive in Spring 2017, will be the last remaining orca to live its life in SeaWorld's tanks after the ocean park announced in March it would end its captive orca breeding program after years of campaigning from animal welfare groups and concerned citizens.

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By Ashley Palmer

Led by an "orca," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) members descended on SeaWorld San Diego with signs urging, "SeaWorld: Send Corky Home!" The action was the first protest in PETA's new "Free Corky" campaign, which calls for the longest-held captive orca in the world to be released into a sea sanctuary planned for a protected bay in her home waters off the coast of British Columbia.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Corky was taken from the wild in 1969 and has known nothing but misery in a concrete tank ever since. She has been forced to endure seven pregnancies (she was continually pregnant for almost 10 years from 1977 to 1986), but none of her calves survived more than 46 days. Her last stillborn fetus was found at the bottom of the holding tank.

SeaWorld has taken a step forward by ending its sordid orca-breeding program, but that does nothing to help animals like Corky who will continue to swim in circles inside tiny tanks for decades until they die.

As PETA revealed in a new video, the sanctuary would allow Corky to relearn natural types of behavior, such as diving deep, swimming fast and in a straight line, and finding her own food. She could also communicate with her brother and sister, Fife and Ripple, who often visit the adjacent Blackfish Sound.

What You Can Do

Help Corky today by taking a moment to ask SeaWorld to implement a firm and rapid plan to release her into a sea sanctuary where she'll be given a semblance of the natural life that she has been denied for so long.