Brookfield Zoo Stingray Exhibit Closed After 54 Stingrays Die

The popular Chicago-area zoo, the Brookfield Zoo, has closed Stingray Bay, its popular stingray exhibit, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. That’s because although Brookfield Zoo employees scrambled to save their stingrays in the Stingray Bay exhibit as soon as they were alerted of trouble, all 54 stingrays died.

It was the oxygen levels in the Stingray Bay exhibit falling that caused trouble. In the stingray water tank, the precious oxygen levels sank, causing all four of their so-called southern stingrays and all 50 of the zoo’s cownose stingrays to expire eventually, some right away — while others died later.

The habitat malfunction caused the stingray exhibit to close for the rest of the season at the popular zoo, which is known for its dazzling Christmas lights display each season.

Once the staff was notified of the stingrays being in trouble due to a drop in oxygen, they ushered visitors out of the area and immediately got to work, trying to save the 54 stingrays. The stingrays began behaving strangely due to distress, and the Brookfield Zoo staff tried manipulating the environment with air provisions on Friday.

According to Fox, the zoo posted a statement about the deaths of the 54 stingrays on the Facebook page of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, in a statement that was posted there on Sunday. The stingray exhibit at Brookfield Zoo was a common type of exhibit found in many zoos around the nation. The stingrays resided in a shallow pool, one that let zoo visitors feed the stingrays and touch them. Most of the 54 stingrays died on Friday, July 10.

Despite all the emergency care given by the experienced staff of veterinary employees at the zoo, and the fact that oxygen levels had been returned to normal by the staff — none of the stingrays were able to pull through the trauma they experienced. No doubt the deaths of 54 stingrays will bring renewed calls from animal activists who don’t believe creatures such as stingrays should be sheltered within zoos.

As reported by the Inquisitr, a stingray was captured on video that amazed onlookers. It was a gargantuan stingray estimated to weigh 800 pounds. Stingrays can be a source of delight and danger to view and dive along with. “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin famously died from being stabbed multiple times from stingray stings, as reported by the Telegraph.

There’s no word on when the Brookfield Zoo stingray exhibit will reopen or be repopulated anew.

[Image via Getty]