Over two dozen flamingos killed by fox at National Zoo

WASHINGTON — At least 25 flamingos at the National Zoo were killed by a fox who managed to breach their fortified enclosure on Monday.

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Staff at the D.C. area zoo found the dead birds early Monday morning. They also spotted a fox before it escaped through a softball-sized hole in the enclosure’s steel mesh. The heavy-duty metal mesh surrounds the outdoor yard, a National Zoo news release said.

Our team is devastated and mourning the loss of 25 American flamingos and one Northern pintail duck killed by a wild fox...

Posted by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute on Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Three flamingos were also injured in the attack. The remaining flamingos have been moved indoors to their barn, the zoo said.

The zoo staff did not find any areas of concern when they inspected the enclosure Sunday afternoon.

Live traps have been set around the outdoor yard to catch any predators and infrared sensor cameras have been placed to photograph activity.

The remaining flamingo flamboyance has been reduced to 49 following the attack.

A Northern pintail duck was also killed in the incident, according to WRC-TV.

“This is a heartbreaking loss for us and everyone who cares about our animals,” Brandie Smith, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, said in a statement.

This is the first predator breach of the flamingo exhibit since it first opened in 1970.

“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,” Smith said.

Last month a female red fox was captured on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. After it was euthanized, The D.C. public health said that the fox tested positive for rabies.