Flamingos killed at Baton Rouge zoo

Published 11:40 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Dogs broke into the Baton Rouge Zoo on Sunday night and killed 17 flamingos, more than a third of the zoo’s flock.

Workers didn’t discover what happened until Monday when they arrived to check on the birds, said Zoo Director Phil Frost.

Zoo officials are not sure how the animals got in and Frost said the flamingo exhibit is not under video surveillance. They have little to go on besides paw prints in the mud. Frost said the dogs may be feral, or wild.

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‘‘It’s unfortunately one of the things that happens in lots of urban zoos,’’ said Frost. ‘‘You have people who dump animals, feral animals, and they get out.’’

Hilton Cole, director of East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control, said his office received no reports of feral dogs near the zoo Sunday night.

The zoo is surrounded by a fence and the flamingo exhibit has its own fence, but determined animals — not just dogs — can dig under or climb fences, Frost said.

‘‘We take all sorts of precautions for that, but nobody has been able to find a way of keeping that from happening,’’ he said.

Besides the 17 flamingos killed, one more bird was injured in the attack and was being treated at the zoo’s hospital, said Mary Wood, the zoo’s marketing director. The remaining 30 members of the flock who survived were back on display Monday. Zoo officials aren’t sure how they managed to survive the attack.


Information from: The Advocate, http://www.2theadvocate.com