SeaWorld cuts 350 jobs, mostly in Orlando and San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego visitors view an orca whale through a window at the park on Aug 14 2014

"It is an unfortunate, but necessary, outcome of the restructuring that some positions will be lost", the company said in a statement, according to Fox 5.

Four dolphins take to the air as they jump out of the water during the "Dolphin Days" show at SeaWorld San Diego.

Seventy-nine positions were terminated in California, a spokesman told the San Diego Union-Tribune. The cuts primarily affect its corporate headquarters and the parks in Orlando and San Diego, said spokeswoman Aimee Jeansonne-Becka.

Late past year, SeaWorld cut 320 jobs across its 12 locations to end duplication of functions.

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SeaWorld's attendance was down 4 percent from last year, around 353,000 fewer people attended the park at the beginning go last year over this year, according to an August earnings report.

It was rumored earlier this month by the New York Times that Merlin Entertainments (LN: MERL), a United Kingdom -based amusement park company might be interested in purchasing two parks from SeaWorld, the more ride-based Busch Gardens theme parks in Virginia and Florida.

The cuts include existing positions and open ones that will not be filled, SeaWorld said. This ongoing work to improve efficiency is focused on administrative functions and non-guest facing positions, and we are redeploying resources from the related cost savings into our growth initiatives. It is an unfortunate, but necessary, outcome of the restructuring that some positions will be lost. "For those employees, we are offering severance benefits and outplacement assistance to help with their transition".

The layoffs are the latest change at the company that has faced public backlash "Blackfish", a documentary that criticised SeaWorld's handling of orcas, premiered in 2013.

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