Zoo flamingo has to be euthanized after child hits it with rock

Flamingos have been known to live up to 50 years or longer in captivity.
Flamingos have been known to live up to 50 years or longer in captivity. File/Getty Images

Zoo officials in Illinois were forced to euthanize a flamingo after it was struck by a rock thrown by a child.

Zoo director Jay Tetzloff told The Pantagraph in an email that a juvenile guest accidentally injured the bird on Monday by “skipping a rock into the habitat” at Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington.

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The rock broke the flamingo’s leg in the “unfortunate accident,” causing injuries that left zoo officials very little choice but to humanely kill the animal.

The zoo said it’s working with the unidentified student’s family to make sure this is a “learning experience” for the child. The facility added that it has no future plans to change the layout of the habitat, which housed 25 flamingos prior to the incident.

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The exhibit opened in 2016.

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An adult flamingo’s legs can be anywhere from 76-127 centimetres long, which is longer than its entire body. Flamingos have been known to live 20 to 30 years in the wild, but in captivity, minus predators and other dangers, up to 50 years or longer.

With a file from the Associated Press