More than 50 stingrays have died at a Chicago zoo when their tank suffered a malfunction that starved them of oxygen.
The incident happened at the popular Brookfield Zoo, which houses the animals in a shallow display pool where visitors are invited to feed and stroke them.
Officials say that 54 stingrays died when oxygen levels in their tank dropped too low. They included four southern stingrays and 50 cow-nose rays, most of which died on Friday afternoon.
In a statement released on Saturday via the Chicago Zoological Society, the zoo confirmed the deaths of the animals. “Veterinary staff were promptly on the scene to provide medical treatment to the affected stingrays. Additionally, immediate action was taken by animal care staff to rectify the situation and get the levels back to normal.
“Despite the tireless efforts by staff, all of the animals, which included four southern stingrays and 50 cownose rays, succumbed. Staff [are] currently analysing the life support system to determine the exact cause of the malfunction.”
Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programmes for the Chicago Zoological Society, said: “We are devastated by the tragic loss of these animals. Our staff did everything possible to try and save the animals, but the situation could not be reversed.”
The zoo confirmed that the exhibit will now be closed for the rest of the season.
With additional reporting by APReuse content