NEW YORK (TheStreet) --SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) is planning on cutting almost 300 jobs across its 11 park enterprise, as the animals for entertainment and theme park operator continues to be faced with backlash regarding the treatment of the marine mammals in its care, the Wall Street Journal reports.
SeaWorld said last week that the job cuts would be part of its restructuring program, when it announced its current CEO, Jim Atchison, would be stepping down effective January 15, 2015.
Shares of SeaWorld are higher by 1.43% to $15.65 in pre-market trading on Wednesday morning.
The company was not specific about which positions would be eliminated, but said the changes would take place at its 11 parks and at its headquarters, the Journal added.
On Tuesday afternoon the company said in a regulatory filing that the plan would save almost $50 million a year by the end of 2015, the Journal noted.
SeaWorld also announced changes to its buyback program, which allows the company to repurchase up to $15 million in shares beginning today. The buybacks are a part of the company's previously announced $250 million share repurchase program, which was originally scheduled to begin on January 1, 2015.
SeaWorld is working to improve its image and win back its audience as it has been dealing with a wave of criticism following last year's documentary Blackfish.
The film alleges prolonged captivity makes the company's star attraction, performing killer whales, unstable, dangerous, and prone to aggression, which it suggests is what led to multiple whale on human attacks, and resulted in the deaths of four people.
In November SeaWorld said its attendance was down 4.7% for the first nine months of 2014, the Journal said.