Curtain Falls at Marineland Two Weeks Ahead of Schedule

The owners of Marineland announced Wednesday that the park has been permanently closed to the public effective today, more than two weeks earlier than previously announced.

In a short statement, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, the company that bought the park Dec. 30, said the 33-year-old oceanarium was being closed "in the urgent interests of protecting the animals, public visitors and employees."

Harcourt official Bruce Starling said in a telephone interview from his Orlando, Fla., office that "there are some things that have gone on in the last 24 hours that made it necessary for our company to take the drastic steps it did."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that the park received a bomb threat about 8 p.m. Tuesday and that two employees received threatening phone calls the same day. No bomb was found.

Starling would not say whether the threats were responsible for the company's decision to close the park early.

Two weeks ago, Harcourt announced that it would close the park March 1 because it was losing money and that more than $25 million in improvements would be needed if the park was to break even.

The company, which operates the Sea World parks, said it will help Marineland's 300 employees find other jobs. The park's animals will be transferred to Sea World parks and other zoological facilities, it said.

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