Fox chews by fence, kills 25 flamingos at Nationwide Zoo

WASHINGTON – Foxes are known to raid henhouses. But this raid, on an outside zoo lawn housing dozens of shiny pink flamingos not able to fly away, was numerous instances even worse.

Zookeepers at the National Zoo built a macabre discovery this week when they entered the outside enclosure that housed 74 flamingos. A wild fox from neighboring Rock Creek Park had seemingly chewed a hole in the steel mesh fencing and wreaked havoc, killing 25 flamingos and injuring three other individuals. One Northern pintail duck was also killed.

It truly is the most up-to-date fox-associated disruption in the nation’s cash, wherever just previous thirty day period a rabid red fox attacked a congressman, who fought it off with a umbrella and experienced to get rabies photographs. Capitol Law enforcement received several stories of “aggressive fox encounters on or around the grounds of the U.S. Capitol,” including at the nearby U.S. Botanic Back garden. The captured fox was euthanized, together with its kits.


The zoo assault is the worst such incident at the zoo in 20 years. In 2002 and 2003, a string of animal raids — also by foxes — led to the fatalities of much more than a dozen ducks, a peacock and an aged bald eagle. Zoo officials instituted new protection actions in reaction to those attacks, and those people limitations have mainly held organization until now.

The Zoo’s Hen Property is at the moment shut to the public for extended-time period renovations, and the flock largely life in a 9,750-square-foot property with a barn and a heated pool. Zoo officers said the region was very last inspected on Sunday about 2:30 p.m.

When personnel returned early Monday early morning, they discovered more than two dozen dead birds and a “new softball-sized gap in the significant-duty metal mesh that surrounds the out of doors property,” in accordance to an official zoo statement. Zoo staffers also briefly noticed the fox in the out of doors spot, but the animal escaped.

To a fox, a flamingo is “like a rooster with extended legs and a various coloration,” Dan Rauch, the city’s wildlife biologist, informed The Washington Article. The kinds at the zoo have their wings clipped and can’t fly away.


Brandie Smith, the zoo’s director, known as the most latest carnage “a heartbreaking reduction for us and all people who cares about our animals.” Smith said in a statement that the fencing and other protecting actions were being staying assessed and upgraded to avoid equivalent crack-ins.

“Our focus now is on the nicely-becoming of the remaining flock and fortifying our habitats,” she mentioned.

The birds, formally known as American or Caribbean flamingos, are instantaneously recognizable from their very long stilted legs and exclusive pink hue. The remaining flamingos have been moved to an indoor enclosure and the hurt birds are getting addressed by the zoo’s veterinary workers.

The mesh fencing is precisely intended to protect against getting chewed through by predators, and “dig barriers” are also there to block any endeavor to burrow below the fence. The fencing was final changed in 2017 and experienced handed all previous basic safety inspections.


Now the zoo is boosting security yet again — reinforcing the mesh boundaries, location dwell traps close to the out of doors yard and putting in motion-activated cameras to photograph any nocturnal exercise.

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