The Idaho Aquarium released a statement on the removal of its sea turtle, Beam, Wednesday afternoon.
U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife removed the green sea turtle from the Idaho Aquarium on Tuesday.
The action was a result of the conviction of Ammon Convino and Christopher Conk on December 2, 2013 for illegal trafficking of marine wildlife.
“We knew that Beam, our sea turtle, would eventually be removed as a result of legal actions against the founders,” says Nancy Vannorsdel, CEO of the Aquarium.
The aquarium can petition for the return of the sea turtle. “Unfortunately the result of their [original founders\ misconduct was the loss of our sea turtle. We have 45 days to appeal the revocation of our turtle permit and we plan to take advantage of that time,” says Vannorsdel. “We learned much while caring for Beam and we played a big part in his rehabilitation while educating the public on sea turtle conservation.”
“On a happier note," said Vannorsdel, "today we received our Giant Pacific Octopus; a welcomed addition to our aquatic family."
A new Octopus Palace is under construction at the aquarium, which will improve the habitat for eight-legged residents and provide better viewing opportunities to visitors.
The aquarium has taken strides to distance itself from a murky past that included Covino, Conk, and accusations by former workers of animal abuse and neglect. It hopes to increase membership and bring back visitors; numbers dropped substantially after Covino and Conk's arrests and susequent allegations of mismanagement and negligence.
Vannorsdel stated that seven new "highly qualified, respected leaders" were added to the board but did not give their names, nor are they mentioned on the Idaho Aquarium's website.
"We strive for transparency and adhere to every legal regulation expected of a public aquarium,” Vannorsdel said. She hopes the board members "will play a major role in the development of our facility and marine-life expansion in the months to come.”