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February 28, 2017

$2,500 reward offered for information on cruel attack against El Salvador zoo’s hippo

Unknown assailants fatally injured the animal

Humane Society International/Latin America

  • Alain Pons/PhotoAlto

Humane Society International/Latin America is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the attack and subsequent death of Gustavito, the hippopotamus of the El Salvador National Zoo.

The case: on Thursday February 23, the El Salvador National Zoo’s hippopotamus Gustavito first exhibited signs of unusual behavior, refusing to leave his pool and to feed. The zoo’s team of veterinarians and biologists examined the animal, discovering that he had multiple bruises and lacerations over his body, and was experiencing abdominal pain. Preliminary investigations conducted by the National Civil Police point to an attack by various individuals who broke into the exhibit, and used blunt instruments and edged weapons to beat Gustavito on the night of February 21 or the early hours of the 22nd. The Secretariat of Culture of the Salvadorian presidency announced that Gustavito succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, February 26.    

Animal Cruelty: The brutality of the attack is further proof of the alarming levels of violence in El Salvador, which negatively affects not only humans but also animals of all species.

Cynthia Dent, global field manager for HSI/Latin America, said: “Animal abuse is an indicator of serious social problems, and incidents such as this one cannot be ignored. It is a proven fact that acts of animal cruelty are an important indicator of how violent people can become. For the sake of animals, and indeed for that of the community, we must identify the people responsible and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. We urge citizens to come forward with information that will lead to the prosecution and eventual conviction of those responsible for this unspeakable act of cruelty.”

HSI is collaborating with the prosecutor’s office and the National Police Force on the reward. People who have information about the case should contact 7070 5646 immediately.

Media contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 301-721-6440

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