The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute announced Tuesday the loss of several birds due to a wild fox attack.
Brandie Smith, the John and Adrienne Mars director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, said, "This is a heartbreaking loss for us and everyone who cares about our animals," in a statement.
According to the statement, staff members arrived at the outdoor bird exhibit on Monday, to their horror, to find the dead flamingos. Twenty-five of the 74 flamingos had been killed, and the rest were moved indoors.
INGRAHAM CALLS FOR FBI TO INVESTIGATE SUPREME COURT LEAKER
A northern pintail duck was also killed, it said. The remaining ducks were transferred to a "secure outdoor space."
“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 continued.
The statement noted that an inspection of outdoor facilities took place as recently as Sunday. The weekend inspection revealed "no areas of concern" in the flamingo habitat.
However, Monday morning, "a new softball-sized hole in the heavy-duty metal mesh that surrounds the outdoor yard" was observed.
The zoo added that it is continuing to investigate the incident. It also implemented immediate security measures, including reinforced metal mesh around the flamingo yard, traps for predators, and digital camera traps equipped with infrared sensors.
The flamingo exhibit has been at the zoo in its current form since the 1970s, and the zoo said this is the first breach of this nature to occur.
An April video showed the flamingos as lively as ever in their exhibit. "The Zoo may be closed to the public, but life … uhh … finds a way," the zoo wrote.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
"At the Bird House, our American flamingo flock has begun their courting behaviors. In preparation for breeding, the birds engage in some head flagging and synchronized walking. Keepers observe these behaviors every year to identify breeding pairs. Flamingos mate for life and will only search for a new mate if theirs passes away."