This content is not available in your region

El Salvador's beloved national hippo is beaten to death

Access to the comments Comments
By Catherine Hardy with EFE
El Salvador's beloved national hippo is beaten to death
Text size Aa Aa

There is shock and horror in El Salvador after the national zoo’s beloved hippotamus was beaten to death.

News of the death of Gustavito has been met with outrage.

The much-loved hippo was born and raised in Guatemala. He was brought to El Salvador 13 years ago.

What happened?

Reports confirmed the animal was covered with bruises and puncture wounds.

Gustavito appears to have been attacked with metal bars and rods last Tuesday night.

However, his keepers did not discover the hippo’s injuries until Thursday because he did not leave his pool.

He died of his injuries late on Sunday.

What has the zoo said?

Speaking at a press conference, director Vladan Henriquez said it is not clear why the hippo was attacked.

Justice Minister Ramirez Landaverde said an investigation has been opened.

Is the zoo still open?


It has been closed until further notice. Flowers have been left at the gates.

Social media: what they are saying

Gustavito’s killing has prompted a profound reaction on social media in El Salvador, one of the world’s most violent countries.

5,278 murders were recorded in the country last year, an average of 14 per day.

Most were blamed on powerful street gangs.