FOR PROFIT PETTING ZOO WITH A DARK HISTORY
SeaQuest is an interactive aquarium that operates under the guise of education. Visitors are granted an opportunity to touch and view wildlife in small confined enclosures. SeaQuest is owned and operated by Vince Covino who owns multiple aquariums across the country and has family ties to convicted wildlife trafficker Ammon Covino who conspired to bring illegally harvested spotted rays and lemon sharks from Florida to Boise for display at the aquarium. SeaQuest was also fined after investigators discovered an illegally imported sloth and two capybaras that were being housed in a manager’s basement.
SeaQuest has a track record of poorly run establishments coupled with an extensive history of animal welfare offenses and public safety violations. Hundreds of animals have perished as a result of SeaQuest’s negligence, and a number of people have reported injuries due to their contact with wildlife at SeaQuest.
Animals at SeaQuest are forced to live in small enclosures and denied primary care such as food and water. The management and oversight of operations are substandard at best. SeaQuest employees/volunteers lack the basic knowledge needed to care for captive wild animals as seen in a video that was taken at a SeaQuest in Folsom, California where a large fish jumped out of a tank and began flopping on the floor outside of two display tanks.
An employee that was nearby looked down at the fish and said, “I don’t even know which one (tank) he came out of,” telling the person filming that she is not supposed to touch the animals, the video shows.“I’m not husbandry,” she adds. “I’m not trained on touching them, unfortunately.”
SeaQuest is less of an aquarium and more of a menagerie or petting zoo designed to exploit wildlife for profit. The Covinos view the animals at SeaQuest as commodities, or replaceable stock, employees are tasked with discarding dead animals that are found during the “life check” at 10 a.m. each day and another each night. They could care less about conservation or educating the public about the wildlife they capitalize on.
The egregious crimes committed by the Covino family, their blatant disregard for the law, and the absence of compassion and liability for the animals in their care should not be ignored or tolerated.