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Run by the Covino family, San Antonio Aquarium is a shipwreck of a facility, where vulnerable animals endure the owners’ perfect storm of greed and incompetence. Various species are thrown into an endless onslaught of public encounters, each one endangering the health of the animals, staff, and visitors—all while the Covino family reaps the profits. In July 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited the facility for allowing animals to languish in temperatures nearing 90 degrees after the air conditioning failed, exposing many species to temperatures exceeding regulatory limits. Another citation described young kangaroos kept in a staff office alongside electrical cords and other supplies without a dedicated enclosure, which is required “to protect them from injury.”
The shady aquarium also locks animals up in shockingly tiny exhibits. For example, even though Burmese pythons can reach up to 23 feet in length, they’re confined to exhibits too small for them to stretch fully. Experts stress that a snake’s opportunity to engage in natural behavior—such as stretching out to full length—is “essential and fundamental to snake health and welfare.” Blatantly risking animals’ lives by constantly using them as entertainment props and then shutting them away in inadequate enclosures is an egregious example of speciesism.
The USDA has previously cited San Antonio Aquarium for several incidents in which endangered lemurs bit or scratched either staff or members of the public, finding that three of the six lemurs used in public encounters have injured visitors. And employees at Austin Aquarium—another Covino-owned facility—told a PETA undercover investigator that at San Antonio Aquarium, a ring-tailed lemur named Forest sustained a serious leg injury that apparently went untreated. Reportedly denied veterinary care—leaving him permanently disfigured—Forest was sent to Austin Aquarium, where he, a member of a highly social species, hops around on three legs in solitary confinement with a sign on the enclosure that misleadingly reads, “I’m a Rescue!”
Please never visit roadside zoos! Politely tell the Covinos to focus on animal-free entertainment and transfer the animals at San Antonio Aquarium to reputable facilities.
You may use the suggested letter below, but it’s always most effective to use your own words.