TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida zoo is reopening a stingray habitat that was closed last spring after 12 of the rays were found dead.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park announced Monday that a reimagined state-of-the-art version of Stingray Bay will open at the end of 2022, allowing guests to once again touch and feed them, WTSP-TV reported.
The 34,000-gallon (155,000-liter) renovated habitat will be home to cownose and southern rays, zoo officials said. The walls will be low enough for young children to reach into the water, but the animals will have plenty of room to hide and rest.
Last May, Zookeepers arrived one morning to find that seven cownose rays, four southern rays and one Atlantic ray had died mysteriously in the habitat, officials said. No other animals were in the exhibit.
Workers couldn’t immediately find anything wrong with the equipment or the water quality. Tests later determined that a supersaturation event had caused gas bubbles inside the rays, similar to the bends in human scuba divers. Officials have said the remodeled Stingray Bay will include safeguards and new procedures to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.