Portland Aquarium Death Logs

“Welcome to the Portland Aquarium, kids. What I won’t tell you about them is that lots of them will be dead within months.”

This is more evidence for my axiom that the more you learn about the reality of aquariums and marine parks the worse they seem.

Via The Oregonian:

More than 200 marine animals died this spring at the Portland Aquarium from starvation, infection, high temperatures, animal-on-animal attacks and unknown causes, according to a death-log obtained by The Oregonian. Among the casualties were bamboo sharks, sea horses, garden eels, sea stars, crabs and dozens of fish.

Barbara Baugnon, a spokeswoman with the Oregon Humane Society, which helps enforce state animal-cruelty laws, said her agency is investigating the nine-month-old aquarium. She declined to provide specifics.

During the period covered by the death log, Feb. 18 to May 16, aquarium owners acknowledge that the facility has gone without regular veterinary services. The aquarium’s former veterinarian said that even when he was under contract the facility failed to properly quarantine new arrivals and routinely delayed emergency treatment to save money.

“I feel those animals were subject to undue pain and suffering to save money,” said Mike Corcoran, an exotic animals veterinarian who left in February over what he said were concerns about animal welfare. Corcoran said he repeatedly recommended quarantine procedures that were never put in place.

It always takes a whistleblower, it seems, to find out what is truly going on, and it would change a lot if aquariums and marine parks were subject to the sort of “glass walls” regulations and required disclosures which have been recommended as the best way to reform the meatpacking industry.

The Portland Aquarium’s response (“Hey, everybody’s doing it. Nothing to see here.”) is classic:

Vince Covino, who opened the Portland Aquarium with his brother Ammon in December, declined to be interviewed but responded to questions submitted by email. He said the aquarium’s death rate, which he declined to specify, is consistent with what he’s observed at other aquariums. “And in many cases, we believe we have done better,” he wrote. “We spare no expense in ensuring our animals have the best health care possible.”

He’s probably right, which is worrisome and should tell you a lot about the industry.

One thought on “Portland Aquarium Death Logs”

  1. I love page 3’s reason for death of a ribbon eel: ” it was a ribbon eel.” Kinda sounds like they have a problem keeping ribbon eels alive! My question to Mr.Zimmerman and others is this. Is there any setting that keeping ANY animal captive is ok? I ask because ppl line Ric O’Berry,Naomi Rose and others usually site the monterey bay aquarium(i think is the one) as good potential business model for SW.

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