Tell Aquarium to Provide Proper Veterinary Care for Its Animals


Target: Vince & Ammon Covino, Portland Aquarium owners

Goal: Provide appropriate veterinary care for animals

Logs show that over 200 animals have recently perished at the Portland Aquarium in Oregon due to infection, starvation, high temperatures, power outages, and attacks by incompatible tank mates. Among the victims are seahorses, bamboo sharks, starfish, crabs, eels, and many fish. The nine-month-old aquarium has no veterinarian on site and does not perform regular veterinary care or checkups for its marine life.

The Portland Aquarium is currently under investigation by the Portland Humane Society after death logs surfaced revealing an eight percent mortality rate. Its larger counterpart, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, reports a death rate of less than one percent per year.

Dr. Mike Corcoran, a former exotic animal veterinarian with the Portland Aquarium, reported that proper care procedures weren’t followed despite numerous recommendations. Emergency care was delayed in order to save money. New arrivals weren’t placed in quarantine in order to prevent illnesses from infecting tank mates. Corcoran left in February due to animal welfare concerns.

Caroline Emch-Wei, a volunteer marine biologist at the facility, noted that many of the deaths could have been prevented with due diligence. With regular veterinary checkups, infections could have been treated and signs of malnutrition could have been attended to. With proper attention to the habitats, parameters like temperature, company, and water quality could have been effectively managed. She has since left the aquarium with similar concerns for the animals’ well being.

Unfortunately, the business of keeping live animals is a business like all the rest, and oftentimes animals will suffer in the interest of profit. Neither of the owners are educated in marine biology and the Portland Aquarium runs without inspections or a marine aquarium license. Your signature will demand that the Portland Aquarium’s animal inhabitants are provided appropriate care from qualified staff.


Dear Vince Covino & Ammon Covino,

Recently, upwards of 200 animals have died under the Portland Aquarium’s care. These deaths were due to starvation, infection, and being placed with aggressive tank mates, among other causes. Many of these deaths could have been avoided with regular care and attention to detail.

The amount of avoidable deaths taking place is unacceptable. Responsibility and integrity are essential to a reputed marine exhibit. A great aquarium is one that truly knows and cares about its animal inhabitants, and this is reflected in the livelihood, energy, and coloration of the creatures themselves.

I ask that you provide regular veterinary care as well as timely emergency care to marine life housed in your aquarium. I request that proper attention be paid to feeding each inhabitant as well as quarantines be placed on new arrivals to prevent the spread of infection. Finally, I ask mindfulness toward water temperatures and the grouping of species within tanks.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Paul Hermans

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