LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — SeaQuest Littleton has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after they allowed a male wallaby known as “Ben” to drown in September 2020.
According to an inspection report, on the morning of Sept. 17 that year, the aquarium’s bird and reptile manager found Ben’s body at the back of an aquarium enclosure.
The agency says a staffer told them that the wallaby probably got scared because of some construction that was happening during the previous night, which caused it to get into the water. Unfortunately, the aquarium didn’t have any stairs to help him get out.
The aquarium’s wallabies are allowed to access the water by climbing a concrete structure with stairs, according to the report. Ever since the drowning, the facility has implemented new procedures to prevent a similar incident. Before staff members leave each day, a rubber platform is attached to the aquarium and netting is placed at the top.
The agency also cited the aquarium for having open and ripped bags of bedding close to a chinchilla enclosure and an open bag of biscuits that are meant to be fed to guinea pigs. The open bags can pose a risk of contamination by vermin, according to the USDA. Both issues were corrected at the time of the inspection.
PETA says this isn’t the first incident that caused an injury or death at the facility. They say a kookaburra drowned in a water bowl, a sloth was burned twice by a heat lamp, and five birds died after a guest stomped on them. In a statement, they didn’t mention when each incident happened.
“SeaQuest has stood by and allowed animals to be drowned, burned and kicked to death,” said Michelle Sinnott, PETA’s associate director of captive animal law enforcement. “PETA is asking the public to help get SeaQuest’s decrepit facilities shut down by refusing to buy a ticket.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife suspended the facilitiy’s zoological parks license for two years in April 2019 after they were cited on several occasions.