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Florida Zoo Stingray Habitat To Reopen A Year After 12 Rays Found Dead

TAMPA (CBSMiami/AP) — ZooTampa at Lowry Park is reopening a stingray habitat that was closed last spring after 12 of the rays were found dead.

The reimagined state-of-the-art version of Stingray Bay will open at the end of 2022, allowing guests to once again touch and feed rays, WTSP-TV reported.

Zoo officials say the 34,000-gallon renovated habitat will be home to cownose and southern rays. 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.

A southern stingray (Photo by Daniel Reinhardt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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