54 Stingrays Die At Chicago Zoo Due To Oxygen Deficiency

Fifty-four stingrays died at a Chicago zoo. A statement from the Chicago Zoological Society said that four southern stingrays and 50 cow-nose stingrays rays housed at the Brookfield Zoo shallow pool exhibits died on Friday afternoon. The shallow pool exhibit was created to permit visitors to the suburban Chicago zoo to feed and touch the rays.

Brookfield Zoo officials now feel that all of the stingrays died because the oxygen levels in their tank dropped below acceptable levels.

Brookfield Zoo employees tried desperately to save the 54 stingrays, according to Bill Zeigler, the senior vice president of the Chicago Zoological Society. Zeigler also stated that zoo workers were devastated by the deaths of the stingrays.

“Our staff did everything possible to try and save the animals, but the situation could not be reversed,” Zeigler added.

Staffers at the zoo are reportedly still attempting to fix the oxygen levels so the tank can once again be used to house stingrays or other creatures. The seasonal touch pool exhibit will reportedly remain closed for the rest of the summer.

Statement about he 54 stingrays dying due to tank oxygen levels posted on the Brookfield Zoo Facebook page.

“On July 10, there was a drop in the oxygen level at Brookfield Zoo’s Stingray Bay habitat. 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 tireless efforts by staff, all the animals, which included four southern stingrays and 50 cownose rays, succumbed. Staff is currently analyzing the life support system to determine the exact cause of the malfunction. At this time, the Chicago Zoological Society has made the decision to not reopen the summer-long temporary exhibit for the remainder of the season. The popular exhibit has been operating since 2007.”

Zoological society staffer Sondra Katzen told CNN that the Brookfield Zoo had 200,000 visitors last year. A temperature increase problem with the stingrays tank that occurred in 2008 cause the deaths of 16 stingrays, according to Katzen. The zoo will reportedly be installing an automated system to monitor the tank levels in an effort to prevent even more stingray deaths.

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