Justice for Gustavito, the Murdered Hippo

Target: Justice Minister Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde

Goal: Get justice for Gustavito, the beloved 15-year-old hippopotamus who was murdered at the National Zoological Park in El Salvador.

Gustavito, a hippopotamus beloved by visitors to the zoo where he lived, was recently found dead in his enclosure. Initial reports claimed the hippo was brutally beaten and attacked with metal bars, knives, and rocks by trespassers in his enclosure and was covered with bruises and puncture wounds. The attack happened late on a Tuesday night, however his injuries weren’t discovered until Thursday because he didn’t leave his pool. Gustavito died from his injuries the following Sunday. The local authorities said this was one of the most “inhumane and cowardly acts” they’d ever seen.

In one of the world’s most violent countries that has on average 14 people killed per day, many people still mourned Gustavito’s passing through social media and even left flowers at the zoo’s gate. Martin Castillo, a street vendor, was interviewed and said “Here we’re used to seeing the dead every day, they kill us like flies but this tops it all. They killed an animal that only entertained us.”

An autopsy was performed on Gustavito and the results are now telling a different story from the initial reports, which points to the zoo employees themselves. The autopsy showed that Gustavito apparently died from pulmonary hemorrhaging due to neglect and poor care, and puncture wounds were not found on the body. The zoo director, Vladlen Hernandez, had the hippo buried “straight away” because he wanted the people to remember him the way he used to be, eating fruit and swimming in his pool.

By signing this petition, you will help urge Justice Minister Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde to find those responsible for this horrible death and to bring them to justice.


Dear Justice Minister Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde,

Gustavito the 15-year-old hippopotamus’ life was brought to a halt when he was murdered in the National Zoological Park in El Salvador. Initial reports claimed that he was murdered by barbaric trespassers in the hippo’s enclosure after hours. However, since his autopsy, new information has been brought to light that suggest poor care and neglect were the cause for Gustavito’s passing.

We urge you to investigate this beloved hippo’s death and to bring those responsible to justice. If indeed the Zoo is responsible for his death, it should be shut down and the remaining animals transported to sanctuaries to live out the rest of their lives with proper and adequate care.

Gustavito was an innocent animal who did not deserve the suffering he endured in his final days. We demand that you prosecute those responsible for this heinous crime.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Roy Focker

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare

One Comment

  1. Patricia Folman says:

    10 years in prison plus cleaning shelters on weekends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




1093 Signatures

  • Lisa Capozzi
  • irene sette
  • Ashni Karan
  • Kara Graul
  • Taylor Hernandez
  • marie amako
  • Sanath Gunawardena
  • Svetlana Oklander
  • Janice Haines
1 of 109123...109
Skip to toolbar