Insider account #10: Alleged Gentoo penguin death at SEA LIFE Birmingham

Insider account #10: Alleged Gentoo penguin death at SEA LIFE Birmingham

The Gentoo penguin enclosure at the Sea Life centre in Birmingham, which opened in March 2014, is of concern. The enclosure originally housed 12 penguins but a few weeks after opening, an insider alleges that one of the penguins swam into one of the underwater viewing panels and died.

 

Photo source: www.flickr.com/photo/sell-r-brown

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Insider account #9: Shark deaths at SEA LIFE Birmingham

Insider account #9: Shark deaths at SEA LIFE Birmingham

One insider from Sea Life Birmingham told CAPS: “One of two scalloped hammerhead sharks died after a period of gradually declining health. For some time, the shark had been repeatedly bumping into the rockwork and sides of the tank, with the result that its body was covered in sores and scratches. However, no attempt was made to catch the animal and move it to a larger aquarium. The other shark will also probably die soon as it is a sociable species and does not like …

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Insider account #8: Penguin welfare at SEA LIFE Birmingham

Insider account #8: Penguin welfare at SEA LIFE Birmingham

A member of staff reported that penguins at Birmingham SEA LIFE showed signs of stereotypic behaviours.

“Stereotypic behaviours” are repetitive behaviours with no obvious function. In animals, they might include rocking, pacing, head-nodding, swaying and over-grooming, amongst other things.

Stereotypic behaviours are widely accepted as being a sign of psychological distress or even the external symptoms of mental illness. In short, the presence of stereotypic behaviours can be a sign that there is something very, very wrong with the state of mind of the …

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Insider account #7: Confidentiality agreements

Insider account #7: Confidentiality agreements

All SEA LIFE volunteers and staff are made to sign confidentiality agreements. When an insider asked a senior manager why such an agreement was required, the manager said that unexpected deaths occur and situations arise which need to be kept behind closed doors so all staff and volunteers must sign an agreement.

Something to hide, SEA LIFE?

Photo source: www.flickr.com/photos/mmmswan

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Insider account #6: SEA LIFE supply base refuses to send animals to SEA LIFE Birmingham over welfare concerns

Insider account #6: SEA LIFE supply base refuses to send animals to SEA LIFE Birmingham over welfare concerns

An insider told CAPS that a member of staff reporting back to a meeting in Weymouth SEA LIFE centre had visited Birmingham SEA LIFE centre and was “disgusted by the condition that the areas and tanks were kept in so all deliveries of livestock were cancelled until they ‘got their act together’”. SEA LIFE Birmingham refers to itself as the “National SEA LIFE Centre” – the self-styled flagship of the brand. The insider left employment shortly afterwards and so could not confirm if the internal …

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Insider account #5: Dead animals dumped in the bin

Insider account #5: Dead animals dumped in the bin

Some of the wild-caught fish regularly delivered to SEA LIFE aquariums from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef die on the long journey. A number of fish have been found dead on arrival. These animals were “bagged up and binned”. An insider said there was little reaction to the arrival of dead animals. It was expected that some would perish on the journey.

Many fish die in transit, said whistleblower

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Insider account #3 and #4: Penguin chick deaths

Insider account #3 and #4: Penguin chick deaths

One insider reported a penguin chick dying at around one week old and told CAPS it was because the staff were “unable to feed it”. The death was put down in part to staff inexperience. Previously, another penguin born at the same centre was allegedly trampled to death during a late night event at the aquarium. Staff had reportedly warned that the noise could disrupt the penguins but the warnings went unheeded.

A baby penguin died at a late night event

Photo source: www.flickr.com/photos/princesstinkerb

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Insider account #2: Killing seahorse babies

Insider account #2: Killing seahorse babies

Despite SEA LIFE’s claims of expertise in seahorse breeding, a member of staff told us that she found dozens of baby seahorses had become trapped in one of the tank’s filtration systems. When they were found more than half were already dead. When the member of staff began to move them to safety in another empty tank a more senior employee said not to bother as they were to be killed because there was neither food nor manpower to look after them. When questioned …

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Insider account #1: Weekly deliveries of wild-caught animals

Insider account #1: Weekly deliveries of wild-caught animals

SEA LIFE’s Weymouth centre receives large quantities of wild-caught fish in weekly deliveries, CAPS has been told by a former employee. The fish are caught for the aquarium trade from delicate wild habitats including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where one of SEA LIFE’s major suppliers operates from. Two major fish suppliers were used with dozens of fish arriving weekly.

As part of its education work, SEA LIFE tells visitors that they can help to protect coral reefs, telling them: “Don’t touch anything if you …

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SEA LEAKS: Brave whistleblowers expose dirty secrets of SEA LIFE aquariums

SEA LEAKS: Brave whistleblowers expose dirty secrets of SEA LIFE aquariums

In April 2014, The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) launched a campaign in response to growing concerns over the operation of the world’s largest aquarium brand, SEA LIFE aquariums. The campaign launch followed a detailed investigation and revealed a number of shocking truths about the company, which is owned by global entertainment giant, Merlin Entertainments.

Conservation, education and animal welfare were scrutinised during the investigation and major concerns were raised on each of these issues. In addition, it was revealed that, despite claiming to be opposed …

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