SeaQuest Pleads Guilty to Buying Wildlife Illegally

PETA Calls On Feds to Terminate Beleaguered Exhibitor’s License

For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2022

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Littleton, Colo. – On top of all its other public relations problems involving the deaths of animals in its “care,” SeaQuest has now pleaded guilty to a criminal charge involving the unlawful purchase of a snapping turtle—one of several species the aquarium has been prohibited from possessing since April 2019, when the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CPW) suspended its state license—according to court documents just obtained by PETA.

Today, PETA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking the agency to terminate SeaQuest’s license to exhibit animals. The federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) allows the USDA to terminate a license if the licensee has been found to have violated any laws or regulations pertaining to the transport, ownership, neglect, or welfare of animals.

“SeaQuest treats vulnerable wildlife like merchandise, not living, feeling beings,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is calling on the USDA to follow Colorado wildlife officials’ lead and strip this scofflaw petting zoo company of its federal license.”

In October 2021, the CPW issued SeaQuest Littleton formal warnings over its illegal possession of other state-regulated species, including a painted turtle, a yellow-bellied slider, an ocellated skink, and a Russian tortoise. The facility’s April 2019 two-year state license suspension came after it racked up eight convictions for violating state wildlife laws, including for illegally importing a sloth. It applied for a new license in August 2021 but has yet to receive one, and the CPW has expressed serious concerns about its application.

SeaQuest Littleton also has a history of AWA violations, including having received a USDA citation in June 2021 after a wallaby named Ben drowned in an aquarium tank at the back of his enclosure because there was no way for him to climb out of the water.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind