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Fugitive Flamingo that Escaped Kansas Zoo Spotted in Texas 14 Years After it Flew the Coop

  • May 29, 2019
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Flamingo 492, as the bird is known to the Sedgwick County Zoo of Wichita, Kansas, is flaunting its freedom.

According to The Wichita Eagle, the crafty flamingo escaped from the zoo with another flamingo in June 2005. Flamingo 492, who had recently arrived at the zoo, was able to fly away thanks to “strong storm winds” and “not-yet-trimmed flight feathers.” Because the bird was a newcomer to the Sedgwick County Zoo, blood testing had not yet been done to determine the bird’s sex.

The paper believes the two runaway birds got separated during the storm that aided their escape, with 492 heading to the Gulf Coast and the other flamingo heading north. After the successful escape attempt, the other flamingo was seen in August 2005 but has not been spotted since. Flamingo 492, on the other hand, isn’t shy about showing off its freedom.

The bird has been spotted up and down the Texas coast several times over the past few years. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), 492 was first seen enjoying the Texas shoreline in 2013, she was spotted and photographed by Adriana Levia and former TWPD employee Brent Ortego during the annual colonial waterbird survey in 2018 and 2019, and was recently caught on camera by wildlife photographer John Humbert this month.

RELATED: Adorable Baby Flamingo Tries to Stand on One Leg for the First Time 

Flamingo 492 seems to be so smitten with the shores of Texas, TWPD is thinking of giving the bird a name different from the number banded on the animal’s leg.

“Spotted once again during the Texas Colonial Waterbird Survey by Coastal Fisheries staff and volunteers, this escaped zoo flamingo has decided to spend Memorial Day weekend on the Texas coast,” Coastal Fisheries – Texas Parks and Wildlife posted on Facebook along with a photo of the 492 failing to blend in with other birds.

RELATED: A Flamingo at an Illinois Zoo Had to Be Put Down After Child Threw a Rock at the Animal

The Sedgwick County Zoo has no plans to reclaim the fugitive flamingo, reports The Wichita Eagle, since the bird seems to be surviving on its own and because attempting to capture the bird might disrupt wildlife in the area.

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