Trips to the zoo are a fun and educational experience for adults and children alike, but an accident at a Chicago area zoo is acting as a warning that everyone needs to be safer when surrounded by animals. A flamingo at the Miller Park Zoo in Illinois had to be euthanized recently after being struck by a rock thrown by a young child.
"A juvenile guest accidentally injured a flamingo on Monday by skipping a rock into the habitat," Jay Tetzloff, director of the city-owned zoo and parks, recreation and cultural arts department said, The Pantagraph reports. "Unfortunately, staff determined the best course of action given the animal's injuries was to euthanize the bird," he stated, adding the bird suffered a broken leg after being hit by the rock.
The flamingo exhibit is located near the entrance to the zoo, with the flamingos acting as the first animal visitors see, welcoming them to the park. Tetzloff felt there was no need to change the layout of where the animals are located by did state that the zoo would be working with the family of the child who threw the rock, adding that it "was a truly unfortunate accident."
The flamingo exhibit opened in 2016 and currently has approximately 25 flamingos on display. The greater flamingos which are the species that are featured in the zoo can often live to the age of 30 on average CNN reports, while some birds raised in captivity can live as long as 60 years! The birds are typically found in the Middle East in countries like Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan, as well as in areas across West Africa, South America and throughout Europe.
Despite the zoo stating the rock throwing incident was an accident, many members of the public disagree and are calling for action against the family of the child who threw the rock. " I hope you’re pressing charges on the family of the child who killed your flamingo," wrote one person on the zoo's Facebook page. "WHAT?!?! The zoo is “working with the family to ensure this is a learning experience for the child”????! Maybe the zoo should press charges. Where were the parents when this happened? The rock was so big it broke the poor bird’s leg! Jail would be a learning experience. That kid is a future serial killer," wrote another.