An Orlando man was arrested Tuesday after attacking a flamingo at Busch Gardens that ultimately led to her death.
Tampa Police say Joseph Carrao, 45, was visiting Busch Gardens with his family when they stopped by the Jambo Junction Animal Viewing Area. Multiple witnesses saw Carrao reach into the pen, pick up a flamingo and throw it to the ground.
The flamingo, later identified as Pinky, had to be euthanized.
"Today, is a very sad day at Busch Gardens," said Busch Gardens' PIO Karen Varga-Sinka following Pinky's death. "Pinky liked to dance and when she was getting the attention she wanted, she would start dancing in circles. She was the sweetest thing."
Her keepers say Pinky's dancing is not a trained behavior, but a natural behavior she loves to show off. Flamingos are filter feeders, using their beaks to strain tasty morsels out of the water around them as they wade. To stir up the tastiest treats, flamingos will stamp their webbed feet. Pinky often performed this toe-tapping behavior out of the water for guests.
"She was a beloved member of the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay family and made many appearances on behalf of the park's conservation and education efforts. She will be sorely missed," the park said in a statement Wednesday.
Carrao was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.
He has a previous arrest for animal cruelty.
Outrageous mug shots