SeaQuest Sloth’s Death Must Be Investigated, Says PETA

Records Reveal Weak, Emaciated Animal Suffered for a Month or More Before Dying—Untimely Death Added to Others on Record

For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Las Vegas – This morning, PETA fired off a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting an investigation into the prolonged suffering and death of a young sloth called Flash and, if warranted, action to hold SeaQuest Las Vegas accountable.

According to the necropsy and medical records that PETA has reviewed, Flash was very thin when he died and had a history of weakness, twitching, and lack of appetite. He died just seven months after arriving at SeaQuest, leading PETA to suggest that the facility may lack the appropriate knowledge and experience to care for sloths at all, which could have played a role in Flash’s death.

“This sloth had a right to live out his life in his natural habitat with others of his own kind, but instead, he spent his one miserable year on Earth trapped in a dingy shopping mall petting zoo,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is calling on authorities to investigate SeaQuest and throw the book at it for treating animals like disposable props.”

Flash isn’t the only animal who’s suffered and died at SeaQuest Las Vegas. An otter named Jelly drowned after one of her front legs got caught in a pool filtration system, and another otter died shortly after arriving at the facility—the necropsy report concluded that the stress of shipping and change in environment may have led to a fatal cardiac event. Former SeaQuest employees claim that birds were stepped on and killed, turtles were crushed by children, and an octopus was boiled to death in a tank.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also points to an incident at SeaQuest Colorado in which a sloth was severely burned by a heat lamp twice before modifications were made to prevent the animals from accessing the lamp.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, 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