A wild fox in Washington DC, has chewed through a fence at the National zoo and killed 25 flamingos in the worst animal attack there in two decades.
On Tuesday, zoo officials announced that in addition to the 25 American flamingos that were killed early on Monday in their outdoor habitat, three more were injured. A northern pintail duck was also killed by the fox.
Zoo officials had spotted a fox in the flamingos’ yard but said it escaped.
The remaining flamingos out of the original 74 birds in the group were moved indoors into their barn and the ducks were transferred to a covered, secure outdoor space, the zoo said. The birds’ wings are clipped and they are unable to fly away.
“This is a heartbreaking loss for us and everyone who cares about our animals,” said zoo director Brandie Smith.
“The barrier we used passed inspection and is used by other accredited zoos across the country. Our focus now is on the wellbeing of the remaining flock and fortifying our habitats. ”
Officials found a softball-sized hole in the heavy-duty metal mesh surrounding the flamingos’ outdoor yard, which was last replaced in 2017 and passed an accreditation inspection, but has been reinforced since the attack.
Live traps have been set around the yard to catch predators. The zoo has also set up digital camera traps with an infrared sensor that tracks overnight activity.
The zoo’s flamingo exhibit was established in the 1970s and primarily consists of a 9,750-square-foot yard with a heated pool and barn.
Last month a fox with rabies bit at least nine people on Capitol Hill, including a congressman, and was caught and euthanized.