SeaQuest pays fines after keeping sloth, capybara in a home basement

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- The FOX31 Problem Solvers have uncovered more troubles at a controversial wildlife exhibit operating inside Southwest Plaza Mall near Littleton.

This time, the violations are related to mammals.

We’ve been investigating animal welfare concerns at SeaQuest for weeks; mostly focused on serious safety issues inside its interactive bird cage. State inspectors found the situation so “unsustainable” they issued a cease and desist order for that exhibit on Monday.

Now, FOX31 has discovered SeaQuest also recently paid a fine for unlawfully importing three mammals into Colorado without permits.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife released public records that show SeaQuest and one of its managers paid a combined $277 in fines for six violations of law. They also were given six warnings, with the fines waived.

Pictures from that citation report show a cabybara and a two-toed sloth residing in the basement of a SeaQuest manager’s home in Golden.

Neither species had permits to be imported or possessed at the time of the discovery in May.

Then, according to Parks and Wildlife, despite still not having authorization to be displayed or transported, the creatures ended up at Southwest Plaza on display at SeaQuest.

Inspectors noted another potential violation as well, which did not result in a fine: “Concerns included a scorpion terrarium that was accessible to the public and not locked.”

This observation occurred during a pre-inspection of SeaQuest just prior to its opening date in June.

An email we received Thursday from the state confirmed SeaQuest and that manager paid their fines,  permits have been acquired, and SeaQuest has corrected the issues.

SeaQuest Interactive Aquariums opened in early June. That company, according to its marketing material, specializes in allowing customers to touch and feed wildlife including sharks, stingrays, turtles, and wallabys.

Customers are not allowed to interact with the sloth or capybara, according to Colorado licensing restrictions.

AlertMe