Ammon Covino, the co-founder of the Portland Aquarium and director of the Idaho Aquarium who was successfully prosecuted for his involvement in the illegal trading of marine animals, is back in the news for, you guessed it, his involvement with yet another public aquarium. Shortly after we first wrote about Convino’s legal issues with the Idaho Aquarium, we found out that he was somewhat involved with a facility in Austin, Texas. While he is not in charge of the Austin Aquarium, his brother Vince is, and of course Ammon’s involvement has been inevitable despite a fresh release from prison and being ordered to have no part in any aquarium activities as part of his release.
According to court documents, Covino is not allowed to do anything that “involves exhibiting, importing, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring or purchasing in interstate or foreign commerce any fish or wildlife.” He was basically ordered to have no part in anything aquarium related. But his new role is said to be that of a consultant, and his lawyer is seeking to modify the terms of his release to allow him to come on board to help the aquarium establish its facilities. He says he won’t be involved in anything animal related, but to us it is still one of those, “are you serious” type of moments.
Further, the reason he is trying to get his terms modified is to be able to support his family, which consists of himself, his wife, and their seven children. While we certainly don’t want to see children become innocent victims of a legal situation, this is just one of those situations where common sense should take over and the judge should deny the request. There are plenty of other job opportunities out there, though with all of his legal issues, those might be limited for poor Mr. Covino.
Ammon Covino was convicted of illegal wildlife trafficking in 2013 after it was discovered that he did not obtain permits prior to transporting stingrays from Florida to Idaho. Compounding the issue were text messages indicating that Ammon knew he lacked the proper documentation and attempted to sneak the rays into his facility.