The Smithsonian’s National Zoo on Tuesday announced that a wild fox killed 25 American flamingos and one Northern pintail duck in the center’s outdoor flamingo habitat.
Staff discovered the attack early in the morning Monday, but the fox escaped the exhibit, the National Zoo said in a press release.
Three flamingos are being treated for injuries at the Zoo’s veterinary hospital. The fox killed more than a third of the flock, the Smithsonian stated. The remaining ducks and 46 flamingos were moved to a secure, covered outdoor area.
In response to the attack, the zoo reinforced the fence surrounding the flamingo yard and set live traps around the exhibit to catch possible predators.
“This is a heartbreaking loss for us and everyone who cares about our animals,” Brandie Smith, a director at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, said. “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.”
The attack comes just weeks after a rabid fox terrorized Capitol Hill and bit nine people including Rep. Ami Bera, (D-Calif.), and Politico reporter Ximena Bustillo. The fox and her three kits were put down after the mother tested positive for rabies, Smithsonian Magazine reported.