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A dozen stingrays die at ZooTampa

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 27, 2021

TAMPA BAY, Fla- — TAMPA, FLA.- Officials with ZooTampa at Lowry Park are investigating after a dozen stingrays died on Thursday.

Guests could visit Stingray Bay to see the stingrays up close and feed them.

The pool is expected to be closed for at least 8 weeks.

Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, Senior VP of Animal Health, Conservation & Education, said staff checked on the animals in the morning and they appeared to be fine.

"We check animals first thing in the morning and their caregiver actually left them after checking them and skimming the pool and they looked fine at about 9:00 a.m.," said Dr. Stringfield.

"The zoo had opened at 9:30 a.m. and the attendants were there and they were starting to sell the food to feed the stringrays and letting people in and that's when they put the call out. This isn't how they normally act, not coming over," she added.

Dr. Stringfield said its unclear why the all the stingrays died.

"Very unusual for something like this to happen so quickly to every animal with no warning," she said.

Dr. Stringfield said water quality tests appeared normal and equipment appeared to be functioning properly.

"The water quality gets tested all the time, the pump circulation, all the equipment and all of that is checking out just fine," said Dr. Stringfield.

ZooTampa officials plan to bring additional experts to the zoo to help with the investigation.

"We're scratching our head at this point. We have to dive deeper. That's why we're bringing people in with fresh eyes because we got to go to this next level now to try and figure this out," said Dr. Stringfield.

"We're just floored by the outpouring of sympathy and support from the community. It's been amazing and it's been amazing to see how impactful those animals were for so many people. We absolutely are committed to sharing all the information as we continue along so that everybody knows as we learn more about what happened."