Minnesota Zoo may choose rays to replace dolphins

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Zoo may use schools of fish and stingrays to replace its dolphins.

The zoo is deciding how far $4 million in state bonding money will go in renovating its Discovery Bay aquarium. It had asked for $7 million. The zoo decided this spring it would no longer keep dolphins after one died, leaving it with just two.

Zoo Director Lee Ehmke tells Minnesota Public Radio said he hopes there’s enough money to make the most critical repairs and introduce new kinds of fish and stingrays. He said the public might have a chance to swim or wade in the tank.

Ehmke says the rays aren’t dolphins but they are “fantastic representatives of the aquatic environment.”

Some lawmakers have criticized the zoo for the way it handled its bonding request. The zoo publicly announced it was getting rid of the dolphins only after it secured the state money.