In Memory Of Coco

Our Beloved Alpaca Died On a Saturday, February 11th, 2023


Coco died at age 3 months and a week old, she was very loved in the agricultural area and many students will miss her dearly. 

The vets believe so far that a student fed Coco something through the gates like a hot cheeto, chocolate, or some other type of poisonous item that lead her to have White Muscle Disease, however, they can’t tell for certain if this was the cause because of her toxicity reports and blood levels not matching up. To tell for certain what happened to Coco Mr. Lepore is freezing her body so that way more tests can be done. 

The question now is what can be done to prevent this in the future, last year North Hollywood High School lost a donkey from a student feeding them plastic. This year with Coco’s death many are concerned that students can be cautious around the animals and considerate of their health and well-being. 

According to Gisselle Leon, a freshman here at North Hollywood High School, the next actions that North Hollywood High should take care to have “someone on watch” and to have “security cameras” on the premises. Leon also worries that might not be enough because “If you tell them to stop they are just going to keep going” them being the teenagers here at school who are feeding the animals. This is why she wants the security cameras in place to find out who they are. 

The other question that students are asking is what do we do after we find out who is feeding the animals? Some say we should put them in detention, others say they should help in agricultural areas and clean the stalls, while a few students say they should pay a fine. 

Because of Coco’s death, the Senior student body has gifted alpacas to the agricultural area as their gift to the school once they graduate. The alpacas will be friends for Bonnie (Coco’s mother) who is grieving after the loss of her child and needs someone as a friend. The alpacas will be from a friend of Mr. Lepore’s and they will be retired show alpacas meaning that according to Mr. Lepore “they are super friendly and super used to humans. You can go up to one and sit next to it and it will come up and sit next to you.” They are already named according to Mr. Lepore and their names are “Buttercup, Alie, Grace, and Lucy.” He also says that North Hollywood High School (NHHS) is “helping her by taking two of them as a donation and we are buying two” meaning we will get four new alpacas in total. 

After getting the test results on Friday February 24th 2023 afternoon around 4:00 p.m, Mr. Lepore found out what was wrong with Coco. He said “She had gastric lining issues which we already knew about, but the thing about the results is that the coloring was completely different. Normal lining color of an animal is a pinkish reddish, hers was black.” The odd thing is that when they ran a test on her fecal matter it was ok. The good news is that the test center in which the labs are being done is willing to do them for free, because they too are interested in Coco’s sudden death meaning that NHHS is getting $600 free of fees for Coco’s tests. 

The next batch of tests will be more in depth and they will cut up Coco’s body in order to find out what happened to her and see if it was an issue with one of two things that could have gone wrong. Mr. Lepore said it is most likely a “toxin of some sort of number” or it happened “from birth and it just finally popped after this point.”

The case of Coco’s death is still a mystery and it will probably be 3 to 4 weeks if not longer until we know what really happened. Until then hopefully students will not feed any of the animals any harmful items (chips, plastic, tarts, ext.) and NHHS will start putting further precautions to stop this. Also the agricultural area will get ready for the new alpaca’s and will dig deeper into Coco’s death.