The Smithsonian National Zoo shared tragic news this morning that 1/3 of their flamingo population were found dead in the outdoor habitat.
Bird staff discovered 25 flamingos and one Northern pintail duck deceased on the morning of May 2 and believe a fox is to blame, as it was spotted in the outdoor yards. While it escaped, zookeepers noticed "[a] new softball-sized hole in the heavy-duty metal mesh that surrounds the outdoor yard," according to the zoo's website.
“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 barrier we used passed inspection and is used by other accredited zoos across the country. Our focus now is on the well-being of the remaining flock and fortifying our habitats.”
The flock originally had 74 members. The remaining flamingos were transported to their indoor barn and the ducks were moved to a "covered, secure outdoor space."