A child struck a flamingo with a rock at an Illinois zoo, injuring it severely enough that staff determined the bird should be euthanized.
The child was skipping rocks into the bird’s habitat on Monday when one struck the animal, Jay Tetzloff, the director at the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Ill., said in an email.
“Unfortunately, staff determined the best course of action given the animal’s injuries was to euthanize the bird,” he said. “This was a truly unfortunate accident, and we are working with the juvenile’s family to move forward.”
He declined to provide the age of the child when asked.
The story was first reported by the Pantagraph, which said that the bird’s leg was broken.
The zoo opened a new flamingo exhibit in June 2016 as part of a $16.7 million master plan, the Pantagraph reported, but scaled down plans, including the construction of an island, as a cost-saving measure. The zoo keeps about 25 flamingos at the exhibit, CentralIllinoisProud.com reported.
Flamingos are tropical birds found around the world that live about 30 years in the wild and longer in captivity. They get their distinctive pink color from eating shrimplike crustaceans, algae and larvae, which they filter out of the water that makes their habitat; they are born a dull gray tone.