Zoo Stingray Lagoon dismantled; will remain closed after deaths of rays, sharks

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The John Ball Zoo will be not reopening the Stingray Lagoon after 18 stingrays and three bamboo sharks died there earlier this month, according to zoo officials.

The stingrays and sharks died July 8 after a heavy rainstorm caused flooding at the zoo, which led to a circuit failure causing one of two pumps to fail.  The pumps delivered oxygen to the lagoon's water, according to the zoo.  A back-up alarm system also failed because power had not gone out.  If the power had gone out, a backup generator would have reactivated the pump.

Lab results from Michigan State University say that no toxins of concern were found in the pool.

Zoo CEO Peter D'Arienzo says that the Stingray Lagoon, which was built in 2007, has been dismantled and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. He says that they zoo will be working with aquatic consultants "to determine what is needed to build a state of the art stingray facility that is weather protected and includes the redundancies that might be needed to assure the animal's safety.  No new stingray exhibit will be built until we know that can be done."

D'Arienzo also expressed appreciation for the support from the community and that they all "miss these extraordinary animals."


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