New shark at Cameron Park Zoo dies after eel attack

Posted at 9:44 AM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 20:03:25-05

The Cameron Park Zoo's new shark died after an eel attacked him overnight on Jan. 18, officials said. 

Cameron Park Zoo Staff veterinarian James Kusmierczyk said a green moray eel attacked the bonnethead shark named Loki, leaving it with deadly injuries. He estimates the shark was two-thirds of the size of the eel. 

He added research conducted before the arrival of Loki to Cameron Park Zoo didn't indicate the two would not be compatible. In addition, Kusmierczyk said there were no previous signs of aggression before the attack. 

"Going into it, it wasn't something that was on our minds. It took everyone by surprise and for some of the keepers was heartbreaking," James Kusmierczyk said.

Zookeepers learned about the incident in the morning of Jan. 19 when they checked on the exhibit, according to Kusmierczyk.

The 4-year-old shark, originally from Missouri, was previously housed at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Cameron Park Zoo officials said they obtained Loki for free but paid for the cost associated with the 13-hour-trip to transport him to Waco. 

The shark went on exhibit in November, after being held in quarantine for an observational period. 

Loki was Cameron Park Zoo's first shark. 

After this incident, zoo officials are looking into whether it should bring another shark to the zoo. 

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