Famous dancing flamingo killed by visitor at Busch Gardens

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 4 (UPI) — A famous dancing flamingo at Tampa’s Busch Gardens died after being attacked by a visitor on Tuesday, Tampa Police said.

Pinky, 19, a Chilean flamingo had to be euthanized after Joseph Anthony Corrao, 45, picked her up out a viewing area and threw her to the ground, nearly severing one of her feet, police said.

Corrao was at the park with his family about 6:45 p.m. when police said he grabbed a flamingo while in the animal viewing area and put it back down. A moment later he picked up the bird known as Pinky. Other guests scolded him and he threw the bird to the ground.

The bird, who had become a famous attraction at the park was rushed to the animal care center, but the seriousness of her injuries forced the keepers to euthanize her, Busch Gardens said in a statement. She would have been 20 next month.

“Pinky 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,” a spokeswoman for Busch Gardens said. “She will be sorely missed.”

Visitor Amy Wallace was at the park with her husband and two children when she heard “a lot of screaming.”

Wallace said she looked to find Corrao “holding a flamingo above his head, shaking it violently screaming, ‘I got one, I got another one.'” Corrao then allegedly threw it down. Wallace said the bird “splattered on the ground with its wings out and it started going into tremors.”

Wallace said her husband, a retired police officer, went after Corrao while Corrao’s family tried to get him out of the park. Wallace’s husband and another witness kept Corrao in the park until security arrived, she said.

On Wednesday, Corrao appeared before Judge John Conrad, who berated him.

“It’s beyond senseless,” Conrad told Corrao. “It actually borders on depraved, in my opinion.”

“I don’t know if you have other issues,” the judge continued, “but I don’t know who does that.”

Corrao has a long criminal history including previous time in prison for two counts of animal cruelty, also aggravated assault on a person 65 years or older with a deadly weapon, as well as arrests for drug offenses and DUIs to aggravated domestic violence and child abuse endangerment. Corrao was release from prison a year ago.


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