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Paris zoo’s new manatee drowns

Marine mammal was trapped in an underwater service shaft that should have been closed off

19 August 2014

ONE OF two newly arrived manatees at Paris Zoological Park has drowned in an underwater gallery.

The 300kg three-year-old male manatee, named Barry, died last Tuesday after he became trapped in an underwater service shaft between two parts of his enclosure, Le Monde reports.

His death was only acknowledged on Monday.

Manatees are an endangered herbivore species, with only a few thousand left in the world. They remain submerged in shallow water or just under the surface but need to come to the surface every five minutes to breathe.

An investigation has been launched into how the marine mammal became stuck in an area that is usually closed off.

He was born in a zoo in Denmark as part of a European-wide breeding programme involving several zoos, and had only arrived at Vincennes in early July.

Paris’s Zoological Park, which was formerly known as Zoo de Vincennes,
opened in April after a €170m six-year revamp.

The accident will come as a blow to the zoo, which prides itself on its conservation programme. It participates in 30 captive breeding programmes to prevent the extinction of numerous species.

Photo: USFWS/Southeast

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