Gustavito the hippo has been beaten to death at El Salvador zoo

Gustavito, ippopotamo di 15 anni, era il simbolo dello zoo di San Salvador, settimana scorsa ignoti si sono introdotti nella sua vasca uccidendo l’animale con mazze e coltelli.

After two days of agony, Gustavito passed away. His sufferance has come to an end and he will no longer have to endure enclosure and violence in a zoo. Gustavito was a 15-year-old hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) that lived in San Salvador zoo, San Salvador, since he was 2.

Ippopotamo Gustavito
Gustavito came from Guatemala and has lived 13 years at San Salvador zoo, becoming its iconic animal © Epa

Are these humans?

Gustavito was victim of an attack on Tuesday night and died of the severe injuries. Some strangers allegedly broke into the fenced pool where the hippo lived and beat him with metal bars, knives and rocks.

An attack of cowardice

The attack, as brutal as vile, wasn’t discovered before Thursday, as Gustavito didn’t leave his pool and didn’t allow zookeepers to see the injuries on his body. “He had bruises and puncture wounds and a 15-centrimetre cut,” said zoo director Vladan Henriquez who also announced a temporary closure of the zoo. “We don’t understand why those people cowardly killed him”.


The news of Gustavito’s death has soon outraged the Central American nation. Gustavito was the only hippopotamus in the country and was much-loved by all visitors and zoo keepers, El Salvador is sadly used to violence, being one of the countries with the highest number of killings. Yet, the senseless murder of an animal got many people disheartened. The hashtag #TodosSomosGustavito went viral on social networks and many locals left flowers at the zoo. Minister of Justice Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde said an investigation has been opened into the attack.

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