Investigation Begins After Zoo’s Stingrays All Found Dead Under Mysterious Circumstances

Tampa Bay Zoo employees are investigating after all of their stingrays mysteriously died.

ZooTampa’s 12 resident stingrays were discovered dead in their tank on May 27th, and the cause of their death remains a mystery.

According to a post the zoo shared on Facebook, staff were shocked and heartbroken at the discovery. They immediately began testing and the results have proven even more confusing, as everything indicates “optimal water quality and conditions.”

Photo: Facebook/ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Tests showed no abnormalities and all mechanical equipment was found to be functioning properly.

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In an interview with Tampa Bay Times, staff noted that the stingrays were acting “strangely” when the park opened on May 27th.

However, by the time the veterinary team was alerted, it was too late. All 12 rays were confirmed dead within an hour.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to the news outlet, Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, the senior vice president of animal health, conservation, and education of ZooTampa, said:

“We are emotionally exhausted. [Thursday] was just a horrible day. It’s like a day out of your nightmare, pretty much.

We’re really focused on trying to get to the bottom of what happened.

Internal investigations have shown no signs of foul play, with the 16,000 gallon tank expected to remain closed for the next two months while officials scour it for clues as to what happened.”

Photo: flickr/Valerie

The zoo made the decision to bring in outside investigators to look over the scene, hoping that a more “meticulous investigation” will bring answers.

In the post on Facebook, the zoo wrote:

“It’s with heavy hearts we share that today ZooTampa lost 12 residents of Stingray Bay.

Photo: Pixabay

The animal care and veterinary teams are examining all of the mechanical equipment involved and testing the water, all of which indicate optimal water quality and conditions. It may take several weeks for all of the test results to come in. Stingray Bay is a closed system that’s home only to the rays. It remains closed at this time.”

They continued, asking that everyone keep the zoo staff in their thoughts because the loss is a difficult one for each of them.

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