Seven of the Florida Aquarium’s African penguins died of unknown causes, Aquarium officials announced in a media release Thursday.
The Aquarium is monitoring its remaining penguins’ health and remains “cautiously optimistic,” officials said.
An initial “necropsy,” or animal autopsy, was inconclusive, according to the media release. The Aquarium’s veterinarian team is conducting further tests to identify a cause of death, officials added.
The African penguin has been listed as an endangered species since 2010, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s criteria.
“The Florida Aquarium will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to understand this tragic course of events,” officials said. “Unfortunately, we may never know the cause of death.”
This is the second instance of multiple animals dying at a local zoo or aquarium in the last couple months.
In late May, ZooTampa’s 12 stingrays died suddenly. ZooTampa’s post-mortem investigation found that the water became “supersaturated” with oxygen, giving the stingrays a fatal gas bubble disease.
“The Florida Aquarium has provided world-class care to a colony of African penguins since 2006 and long worked for the conservation of the species,” the media release stated. “These are especially trying times for The Florida Aquarium.”