By Suzanne Stevens
Beam never dipped a flipper in the waters of the Portland Aquarium in Milwaukie. But the green sea turtle is at the center of a complaint filed against the aquarium's co-owner Ammon Covino.
You see, Beam is endangered, and according to a complaint filed this week by PETA with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the turtle has been kept in conditions at an Idaho aquarium that violate standards of the Endangered Species Act. Covino co-founded and until last year was an officer of the Idaho aquarium.
"Ammon Covino has apparently violated the spirit and letter of the Endangered Species Act," said PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders in a statement. "PETA is calling on the authorities to help curb the neglect and mistreatment of animals at the Portland Aquarium."
The complaint comes two days after Covino, who co-founded the aquariums with his brother Vince, was sentenced to a year in prison and two years probation for illegal shipping protected lemon sharks and spotted eagle rays to the Idaho site. In addition, as KOIN reports, the Oregon Humane Society is investigating conditions at the Portland Aquarium following an employee's accusation that more than 200 animals died during a short span.
PETA's complaint is based on whistleblower allegations that Beam's tank on multiple occasions has contained extremely high levels of nitrates and coliform bacteria that exceed the allowable limit.
PETA has also asked the Department of Agriculture to reject the Portland Aquarium's request for an exhibitor's license for a proposed otter tank.