The Smithsonian National Zoo announced Tuesday the deaths of more than two dozen flamingos and a duck on Monday by a wild fox.
“In the early morning of May 2, Bird House staff arrived to discover the deceased flamingos and sighted a fox in the Zoo’s outdoor flamingo yards,” the zoo said in a press release.
Twenty-five of the zoo’s 74 American flamingos were killed, as well as one Northern pintail duck. Three additional flamingos were injured and are being treated at the zoo’s veterinary hospital.
“This is a heartbreaking loss for us and everyone who cares about our animals,” said Brandie Smith, John and Adrienne Mars Director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
The habitat’s barrier had been inspected the previous day, on May 1, with no areas of concern noted. However, when staff inspected it following the flamingo deaths they observed a “new softball-sized hole in the heavy-duty metal mesh that surrounds the outdoor yard.”
The mesh has since been reinforced and live and digital camera traps have been installed. The remaining flamingos have been moved to an indoor facility, and the ducks have been relocated to a covered and “secure” outdoor area.
Smith said, “Our focus now is on the well-being of the remaining flock and fortifying our habitats.”