August 19, 2014
More than half of the stingrays on temporary display at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo died, but officials still qualified the zoo's first new exhibit since 2001 a success.
Membership increased overall since the stingrays' arrival and attendance numbers jumped nearly 30 percent over last year, said
Lewis Greene, the zoo's director.
"People were waiting for something new," Greene said. "Given the response we have had, we may have a stingray exhibit in the future."
Zoo officials paid about $500,000 to bring in the delicate fish for the Stingray Bay exhibit.
Seventeen of the 19 original fish died after a filter malfunctioned and power outage allowed pool temperatures to soar, officials said.
An 18th died after getting trapped in a skimmer in September, leaving just 10 stingrays in the final exhibit, which closed Saturday.
In July, the board approved an $80 million master plan to upgrade the zoo by 2014.
Additional temporary exhibits will be funded by Measure Z, a Fresno County sales tax measure approved by voters in 2004 to pay for zoo improvements, Greene said.