May 3, 2022 - News

Wild fox kills 25 flamingos and a duck at Smithsonian's National Zoo

A group of Flamingos
Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

A wild fox entered the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington and killed 25 American flamingos and one Northern pintail duck, the zoo announced on Tuesday.

The grim scene was discovered early Monday morning, zoo officials said. The fox was spotted in the zoo's outdoor flamingo yards, before escaping.

What they're saying: “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 well-being of the remaining flock and fortifying our habitats.”

  • There were 74 flamingos in the original flock. Three are being treated for injuries. The rest have been moved indoors to a barn. The ducks are now in a "covered, secure outdoor space."
  • The zoo has also added live traps and digital camera traps that detect movement and snap photos of activity overnight in an effort to catch future predators.

Flamingos have been featured at the zoo since the 1970s, living outdoors in a 9,750-square-foot yard with a heated pool and barn. Officials said this was the first predator breach.

Our thought bubble: It's been a wild time for D.C. animals. A rabid fox on Capitol Hill bit several people in April, and a giant turkey has been accosting people on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, even as the bird's resurgence is a victory for conservation. Plus, who could forget the group of zebras that escaped from a Maryland farm last fall?

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