Zoo officials are downplaying reports of foul play involving the death of 40 stingrays at the Calgary Zoo, despite earlier contradictory comments that suggested a possible poisoning.

But despite a lack of evidence to support the theory the stingrays were deliberately poisoned, the Calgary Zoo has called in the assistance of the city cops.

“We are not suggesting that criminal activity led to the ray deaths,” said Cathy Gaviller, zoo director of conservation, research and education. “While we have not been able to rule out that possibility, there are other potential causes that cannot be excluded either.”


Earlier conflicting comments from the zoo included spokesperson Laurie Herron telling reporters they suspected it was deliberate.

“This is a huge tank, so something substantial had to have been put in ... we don’t know if it was a powder or a liquid. But at this point we’re thinking it was not accidental,” she said Tuesday.

At yesterday’s police press conference, zoo manager of facilities services Ted Trewella told reporters there is a very small chance the toxins entered the water purposefully.

“It’s still very early and we’re awaiting back toxicology results. We only called in the police as a precaution … it’s very low on our radar screens right now,” he said.

The conference was held after four more stingrays died during the day, leaving only three left in critical condition.

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