59 animals dead in Brazil zoo murder mystery
Saturday, February 28, 2004 Posted: 0131 GMT ( 9:31 AM HKT)
SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) -- Nearly 60 animals have been killed at the Sao Paulo Zoo since last month and police expect to track down the suspected killers soon, a Brazilian official said on Friday.
Laboratory tests have shown the animals were killed with a rat poison banned in Brazil.
Joao Carlos Meirelles, a Sao Paulo state minister, said investigators had ruled out the deaths being an accident, mainly because the dose was so high in most of the dead animals.
圣保罗的一个官员Joao Carlos Meirelles声称，调查显示，死亡事件是蓄意所为，在大部分的死亡动物的体内药物的剂量极高。
The 59 victims so far include an elephant, dromedaries, monkeys and porcupines.
"We can say with almost total certainty that the suspects will be identified by next week, give or take," Meirelles said
The zoo management has put 15 workers on leave while they are under investigation. It has also ordered all staff to work in pairs.
The latest victims have been the porcupines. In all, 36 were killed, of which six were ready to be donated to another zoo.
"If it's someone from inside of the zoo, I can't understand what is going through this person's mind," said a security guard, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Ronaldo.
"If this is an outside job, I can't understand how they are managing to do it, given our strict security measures."
The public is just as frustrated.
"The poor things are defenseless. Clearly, they are paying the price for some personal vendetta," said Simone Oka Filho, visiting the zoo with her son and nephew on Friday.
The zoo killings have attracted international attention.
"There is certainly an international cause for concern, for all of us who really care about animals, so we can know how to avoid this type of situation," said Jane Ballaintine, a spokeswoman for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
"But deliberate incidents such as this one are very few and far between. It really shocks us that anyone would want to do this."