As sad as it is to lose any animal from their entourage, this zoo went above and beyond to mark this furry friend’s passing as a real tragedy.

It’s customary for some zoos in Japan to give their animals nicknames, which is why you might see nametags or colorful signs informing visitors what they are. In the past, visitors formed an emotional bond over a random penguin that fell in love with an anime girl acrylic stand, but after knowing that his name was Grape-kun? It just made the connection even more adorable.

When a beloved creature passes away, however, it’s hard to find the right words to let people know. Grape-kun himself waddled off this mortal coil last year, as his darling anime love sat by his side, and the narrative around him caused his death to hit his keepers and visitors of the zoo – and fans of Kemono Friends – especially hard. This was also the case at Hitachishi Kamine Zoo this September, when their dear capybara pal Maruo scampered off to the big nature preserve in the sky.

▼ “The way this capybara died is really rough…”

The sign reads:

“On September 27, our resident capybara “Maruo” passed away. We wrote about this a little in the May edition of our zoo blog, but his relations with his older brother “Mochi” worsened to the point where they became locked in desperate battle with each other. After tending to their wounds we attempted to re-introduce them, but as it resulted in more injury we decided to keep them separate.

Right while we were debating whether we could let them go outside together once the fresh wounds had healed, it transpired that the capybaras had managed to break through the partition in between the enclosures and had fought again. We discovered Maruo dead that morning.”

The announcement went on to announce Maruo’s specifics which only highlighted the dramatic details:

“Nickname: Maruo
Sex: Male
Birthdate: April 4, 2017
Cause of death: Injuries sustained from battle”

The grave tone of the announcement, combined with the sad tale of Maruo’s demise at the hands of his brother, touched the Internet, with people leaving comments like:

“A death worthy of Sakamoto Ryouma.”
“It’s funny, you always think of capybaras as being placid and gentle (the image of them bobbing in bath water all warm and cosy comes to mind) but the males still have that war-like attitude to them. The zoo chose a really informative way to get this news across.”
“They deliberately broke down the partition so they could keep on fighting…And then finishing off the would-be killer…It’s almost like a yakuza movie, but with capybara.”

Twitter user @eenamazu, who shared the poignant poster, was attending the zoo’s Kemono Friends collaboration event when they saw the announcement on the capybara enclosure. As it’s been some time since Maruo passed away, the fact the sign is still up speaks to how greatly he’s missed by the zoo staff – and it will also let customers who couldn’t make it to the zoo until now know what happened to him. Maruo and Grape-kun may no longer be with us, but maybe they’ll strike up an inter-species friendship out there in the great, wild afterlife.

Source: Twitter/@eenamazu via Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@eenamazu