Fox kills 25 flamingos at Smithsonian’s National Zoo: NPR


A wild fox has killed 25 American flamingos and a pintail, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has announced.

National Zoo and Smithsonian Institute of Conservation Biology


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National Zoo and Smithsonian Institute of Conservation Biology

Fox kills 25 flamingos at Smithsonian's National Zoo: NPR

A wild fox has killed 25 American flamingos and a pintail, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has announced.

National Zoo and Smithsonian Institute of Conservation Biology

A wild fox broke into the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s outdoor flamingo habitat overnight, killing 25 American flamingos and a pintail, the zoo said.

Three other flamingos were injured and are currently being treated at the zoo’s veterinary hospital. The flock originally included 74 flamingos.

Staff arrived at the flamingo’s outdoor habitat early Monday morning to find the dead birds. Staff said they saw the fox, but it escaped.

“This is a heartbreaking loss for us and for all who care about our animals,” said Brandie Smith, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “The barrier we used passed inspection and is being used by other accredited zoos across the country. We are now focused on the welfare of the remaining herd and fortifying our habitats.”

The outdoor exposure is regularly checked several times a day by the staff. When last checked on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., everything was fine, according to the zoo.

But after the incident, zoo staff found a new hole the size of a softball in the wire mesh surrounding the yard. The mesh has since been reinforced, live traps have been installed around the outer courtyard and digital camera traps with infrared sensors have been installed to prevent future attacks.

The remaining flamingos have been moved inside their barn and the ducks to a covered and secure outdoor area.


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