Beloved hippo Gustavito dies after beating in El Salvador zoo

He was moved to El Salvador 13 years ago.

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

Zookeepers said in a news conference they noticed last Tuesday the hippo, named Gustavito, behaving strangely. Even in El Salvador, a country that has experienced widespread gang violence and averaged 14 murders per day last year and 10 per day so far this year, the unsuspected and senseless beating death of "Gus" has provoked outrage. To put all that in perspective, it was a momentous occasion when El Salvador went 24 hours without a single killing in mid-January.

When the war ended in 1992 many of them returned home, taking the LA gang culture with them.

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Others likened Gustavito's death to that of Harambe, the gorilla who was famously shot and killed in Cincinnati zoo previous year, prompting global outrage and a deluge of memes and over-the-top celebrity tributes.

"We didn't know they had killed Gustavito and were surprised when we arrived and the gate was closed".

Zoo staff tried to save Gustavito, but he died of his injuries on Sunday evening, the AP reported. Mr. Henriquez identified these objects as metal bars, knives, and rocks, some evidence of which was found in the hippo's enclosure.

A fatal attack on a hippopotamus in El Salvador's main zoo has caused uproar.

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The zoo's veterinarians then found lacerations on the hippo's neck and face, and the animal clearly in great distress.

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

Officials said security at the zoo, located south of the capital, would be reinforced with police and soldiers. Others have simply posted: "Forgive us Gustavito".

Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde, the country's justice minister, said an investigation had been opened.

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