Fox Mauls 25 Flamingos at Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo

A wild fox wreaked havoc on a bunch of zoo animals in Washington D.C. on Monday, Could 2. The fox broke into the outside flamingo enclosure on the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo—after which had a area day on the animals inside. It killed 25 American flamingos and one northern pintail duck. The zoo exhibit had 75 flamingos earlier than the fox’s killing spree. Three flamingos have been injured and are at the moment within the care of zoo veterinarians. According to a press release, zoo staffers noticed the fox within the area, however it fled from the scene of the bloodbath and escaped.

“This can be a heartbreaking loss for us and everybody who cares about our animals,” mentioned Brandie Smith, Director of the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “The barrier we used handed inspection and is utilized by different accredited zoos throughout the nation. Our focus now could be on the well-being of the remaining flock and fortifying our habitats.”

Zoo officers mentioned it was the primary time a predator had breached the mesh at its 9,750-square-foot flamingo exhibit, which has been on the zoo for the reason that Nineteen Seventies. Following the assault, the flamingos have been shortly relocated into an indoor barn whereas officers investigated. They discovered a small “softball-sized gap within the heavy-duty metallic mesh that surrounds the outside yard,” which the fox had apparently gnawed by way of. There have been no different indicators of safety breaches on the enclosure.

The zoo plans to extend security measures to forestall one other flamingo mauling. It strengthened the metallic mesh surrounding the exhibit and arrange a number of dwell traps across the exhibit’s outside yard to catch any potential predators. The zoo additionally arrange digital cameras with movement sensors to assist {photograph} any in a single day exercise.

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There are roughly 80,000-90,000 American flamingos within the wild. The birds are recognized for his or her pink plumage and for standing on one leg—a physiological quirk of the species. Flamingos sometimes have a lifespan of 40 to 60 years. They dwell all through the Caribbean Islands and alongside the northern coast of South America. The Smithsonian’s Pure Zoo notes that “whereas flamingos are an plentiful chicken species, they’re threatened by habitat loss attributable to mineral mining and human disturbance. ”

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