John Ball Zoo: Lagoon closed for season after stingray, shark deaths

The closed stingray exhibit at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. (July 8, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — John Ball Zoo officials say they’re still trying to determine what to do with a zoo lagoon after a mechanical error led to the death of 18 stingrays and three sharks.

Workers found the cownose stingrays and bamboo sharks dead in the exhibit Friday morning, following a heavy rainstorm.

Zoo officials believe the storm caused flooding that shorted a circuit, cutting power to one of the lagoon’s pumps. A backup system that was supposed to alert staff if the pump stopped also failed.

Initial samples showed low oxygen levels in the water.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on the zoo to shut down the touch tank; a zoo official told 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday the exhibit will remain closed for this season.

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