Stingray death investigation: Water, tissue samples sent overseas after 12 rays die at ZooTampa

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Officials with ZooTampa at Lowry Park continue to investigate after 12 stingrays in a touch-pool habitat died in late May.

The zoo announced the deaths of the stingrays on May 27 via Facebook.

ZooTampa issued an updated statement on Wednesday about the deaths within the “Stingray Bay” habitat, saying they continue to mourn the loss of the stingrays and appreciate the continued support.

The statement said the zoo has sent out tissue and water samples to “various” laboratories, including one in Germany. The zoo said that lab is “renowned as the ‘gold standard’ in water testing.”

According to the zoo, it will take several weeks for the test results from the labs to come in and for the final reports to be completed.

The full statement reads:

We are grateful for the outpouring of support as we continue to mourn the loss of our stingrays. We are committed to conducting a thorough and transparent investigation and have enlisted the assistance of two experts who have extensive aquatic experience in the zoo and aquarium industry. Additionally, we have sent out tissue and water samples to various labs including a laboratory in Germany who is renowned as the gold standard in the water testing. It will take several weeks for all of the test results to come in and for the final reports to be completed.  

ZooTampa

According to the initial post, the zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams are examining all of the mechanical equipment involved to figure out what happened. They’re also testing the water in Stingray Bay.

As of May 29, the habitat remained closed.

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