Beloved hippo Gustavito brutally attacked in El Salvador zoo

'Revulsion' as hippo dies after El Salvador zoo attack

'Revulsion' as hippo dies after El Salvador zoo attack

-A mysterious and deadly attack on Gustavito the hippo has left Salvadorans searching for answers.

Henriquez said at a news conference that Gustavito sustained injuries to hit feet and cheek while he was likely trying to defend himself.

Zoo keepers did not realize that the animal had been injured until Thursday, however, when he started acting strangely, refusing to eat and spending most of his time curled up in his pool of water.

"We're used to seeing the dead every day", a Salvadoran street vendor told The Associated Press.

"They kill us like flies, but this tops it all". Authorities said it was one of the most inhumane and cowardly acts they'd ever seen.

El Salvador's government has highlighted "national revulsion" at the killing. Unfortunately the violence and homicide rate in El Salvador is extremely high, which sources relate to gang violence.

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The head of El Salvador's Zoological Foundation, Mauricio Velasquez, said "we find it hard to believe that someone is capable of doing that to a defenceless animal". He also had stopped eating.

Zoo director Vladlen Hernandez was devastated by Gustavito's passing, telling the BBC the hippo "generated empathy".

"There were injuries inside his mouth", Henríquez said.

The injuries were caused by "blunt and sharp objects", the Ministry of Culture said in a statement. Metal and rock that should not have been there were found inside the hippo enclosure after the attack. Security Minister Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde said that while there was no evidence that zoo employees or security were involved, he has "ruled nothing out".

Many are calling for investigation into conditions at the zoo to determine how an attack of this nature could happen so easily, while on Twitter others have simply been posting: "Forgive us Gustavito".

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