It's never easy to say goodbye to an animal that is considered a member of the family, especially when it's been a cherished resident for the past decade. The staff at the Butterfly House & Aquarium are currently enduring this process.

After calling the Butterfly House & Aquarium home for ten years, MJ the Southern Stingray was humanely euthanized on Monday, July 25th. The Butterfly House & Aquarium made this difficult announcement on its Facebook page.

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MJ was a people pleaser who was loved by many of the visitors and staff at the Butterfly House & Aquarium. Frequent guests may have noticed that MJ had developed a certain quirk recently over the last few years. He had a unique "spinning behavior" that occurred randomly throughout the day and right before feeding. The staff at the Butterfly House & Aquarium explains to its Facebook followers that MJ's quality of life was never at risk.

He could still engage in enrichment activities, do his daily target training, and eat everything of his required diet. Our vet began work with MJ in early 2020 to try and mitigate this behavior by looking for potential causes through diagnostics, however, the behavior continued with no obvious clinical diagnosis that would have led to a cause for concern.

Just the other day, the staff noticed that MJ was not responding while behind the scenes at the Butterfly House & Aquarium. After consulting with the Director of Animal Husbandry, it was determined that MJ's condition was sharply failing. In order to prevent further suffering, the staff made the tough choice to end MJ's pain. The veterinarian at the Butterfly House & Aquarium also performed a full necropsy to additionally evaluate MJ's condition.

The Butterfly House & Aquarium is celebrating MJ's life by asking its visitors to share any memories or photos of the majestic stingray.

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