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16 stingrays dead at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago area

Staff reports

Half of Brookfield Zoo's stingrays in one of its most popular exhibits died Monday after an equipment malfunction resulted in the water becoming too warm.

Sixteen rays — a mix of both cow nose and southern — died after a heating and cooling system failed to kick in, increasing the water temperature by 10 degrees.

A zoo spokeswoman said she did not know at what temperature the water is supposed to be maintained, and also was not sure if the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has oversight of zoos, was notified.

ComEd is working with zoo officials as well as the contractor that owns the exhibit, Living Exhibits, to determine the cause of the malfunction.

Stingray Bay is a popular attraction at the zoo because it allows visitors to touch the rays as they swim by. The exhibit also features sharks, which the spokeswoman said were not harmed.

The exhibit is closed until further notice.