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Trainers, from left, Joe Sanchez, Brian Faulkner and Kelly Aldrich work with killer whales Trua, front, Kayla, center, and Nalani on March 7, 2011, at the SeaWorld Orlando theme park. / Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP

SeaWorld Entertainment will not appeal a court decision upholding federal safety citations against the marine animal theme park.

The decision effectively stops any chance of putting trainers back into the water with killer whales during shows.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations against SeaWorld in 2010 after a trainer died during a killer whale show.

OSHA recommended trainers stop going into the water with killer whales, also known as orcas, and have physical barriers between trainers and whales.

SeaWorld had challenged the OSHA citations. In April, a federal appeals court upheld the citations against the company. Last week, the park said it would not try to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

SeaWorld voluntarily pulled trainers from the water after Dawn Brancheau's death. It has not put trainers back in the water since, said Fred Jacobs, a company spokesman, in an e-mail.

SeaWorld still has trainers go in the water with the killer whales during "safety desensitization training" in pools, Jacobs said.

Brancheau was pulled into the water by Tilikum, a 12,000-pound killer whale previously linked to two other deaths. Her death was the subject of last year's documentary Blackfish, which raised questions about whether these highly intelligent and social animals should be in captivity.

On Friday, SeaWorld announced it was upgrading its tank for killer whales in San Diego, which will have 10 million gallons of water.

Animal rights group PETA says SeaWorld should instead spend money on creating coastal sanctuaries.

"The company still hasn't gotten the message that the public overwhelmingly supports retiring the orcas," PETA said in a blog post.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow @JolieLeeDC on Twitter.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: SeaWorld won't appeal ruling pulling trainers from water at killer whale shows

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