SeaQuest Littleton, the shopping mall aquarium in Colorado that kept many animals in appalling conditions and put visitors at risk since it was opened a few years ago, is finally shutting down.
The infamous zoo has been accumulating federal and state citations for dangerous and cruel incidents since it opened its doors in 2018, when a heat lamp severely burned a sloth named Flash, over 250 trout died, a kookaburra reportedly drowned in a water bowl, and a patron stomped five birds to death. According to the animal rights organisation PETA, between June 2018 and April 2019, more than 40 incidents occurred at the facility involving injuries to humans, including those to a 4-year-old child who was bitten while feeding an iguana, an 8-year-old child who was bitten by a pufferfish, and an employee who was scratched and bitten by a wallaby. SeaQuest Littleton’s state zoological parks license was suspended for two years in 2019, but then, in September 2020, a wallaby named Ben drowned in a tank at the back of his enclosure, from which the facility was later cited by the US Department of Agriculture. In July 2022, a Savannah cat bit a guest during a public interaction, resulting in the quarantine of all three cats at the facility for six months. In 2023, federal officials cited SeaQuest Littleton for multiple incidents, including when half of the tail of a sugar glider named Luna had to be amputated after it became entangled in a piece of chain in her enclosure.
In a statement, PETA, the animal rights organisation that has been exposing this zoo, said, “So far, PETA has stopped SeaQuest from opening locations in Florida, New York, and North Dakota, and in 2023, the company closed its Trumbull, Connecticut, and Stonecrest, Georgia, locations. While the closure of SeaQuest Littleton is worth celebrating, we’ll continue to keep the pressure on the chain’s remaining U.S. locations to stop its exploitation of animals held there and send them to reputable facilities.”