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Police are investigating the 'cowardly' attack that killed Gustavito the hippo

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A hippopotamus named Gustavito died Sunday after what officials have described as a "cowardly" attack at El Salvador's National Zoological Park, CNN reports. 

The country's Ministry of Culture told CNN in a statement that the 15-year-old hippo suffered "multiple blows on different parts of the body."

Now authorities are trying to determine who entered the animal's enclosure over the weekend and beat the hippo with what appears to have been a sharp weapon, according to the BBC

Veterinarians with the San Salvador zoo noticed that Gustavito was refusing to eat and then found cuts on the hippo's neck and face. 

The zoo's director Vladen Henríquez told CNN the hippo also had injuries to his feet and cheek, which could have been caused by an ice pick or similar tool. 

"There were injuries inside his mouth," Henríquez added. He said those were likely inflicted when Gustavito tried to defend himself. 

Despite their efforts to save the zoo's beloved hippo, Gustavito's condition worsened Sunday and he died that night.

CNN reports that the zoo is planning to perform a necropsy to determine the exact cause of Gustavito's death.

Since the attack, authorities have ramped up security at the zoo. 

Social media users expressed their sadness over the hippo's death on social media. 

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