Gustavito the Hippo was brutally attacked and killed in El Salvador, leaving the country shaken.


The small central American country has been rife with gang violence, but the death of this hippo left many confused and worried. The attack went unobserved, and it was only noticed that the animal was injured on Thursday. He died Sunday.

The Justice Department opened an investigation into the attack. “Here we’re used to seeing the dead every day,” said local street vendor Martin Castillo on Monday. “They kill us like flies, but this tops it all. They killed an animal that only entertained us.”

El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world, and last year had an average of 14 homicides per day.

Gustavtio was born in Guatemala, but has been in El Salvador for 13 years. Zookeepers noticed the animal acting strangely, barely eating and just laying in his water pool for hours. Upon checking, they found injuries on his neck, face, feet, and inside his mouth, caused by “blunt and sharp objects.” Metal bars, knives, and rocks were found in the hippos enclosure.

Since the attack, the zoo in the capital of San Salvador has closed its doors and doubled its security. Patrons have been leaving flowers at the zoo gates, and have been spreading the hashtag #todossomosgustavito on social media (we are all Gustavito).

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