Sugar Glider Deaths Prompt USDA to Cite Local SeaQuest Aquarium; PETA Wants License Pulled

For Immediate Release:
November 7, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Fort Worth, Texas

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report just obtained by PETA reveals that five sugar gliders died recently at a local SeaQuest facility, resulting in a critical repeat citation from the federal agency (and not Seaquest’s first). In just five years, the seedy aquarium chain has racked up over 50 citations for failing to meet even the minimal care standards required by the federal Animal Welfare Act. The USDA has been criticized for failing to pull licenses for serious animal welfare violations like this and is falling short again now in this case.

According to the August 25 report, five sugar gliders disappeared and were later found dead in a vertical PVC pipe they had fallen into and couldn’t escape from. The USDA also cited SeaQuest Fort Worth for housing a cavy and a capybara in enclosures too small to allow them “adequate freedom of movement such as running, playing, foraging, or hiding” and for not having enough staff who consistently show up for work to provide appropriate care.

“From sugar gliders who were found dead to animals cooped up in stressful enclosures, the victims of SeaQuest’s negligence and greed are many,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA urges everyone to avoid all SeaQuest facilities, which churn out violations like they’re competing for the title of ‘most notorious.’”

During SeaQuest Fort Worth’s sordid history, an otter has died there, capybaras have gone missing, an adult capybara has bitten a child, and a sloth has bitten a guest.

Premature animal deaths are an ongoing problem at SeaQuest facilities: A wallaby drowned in Colorado, a flying squirrel was crushed to death in a door in New Jersey, and an otter drowned after her arm got caught in a pool filtration system in Las Vegas. Former employees at the Las Vegas location have claimed 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”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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