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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
# Animal Cruelty
'Plastered' tourist fatally injures Pinko the famous dancing flamingo
According to a police report, a 45-year-old father of two was visiting Busch Gardens theme park in Florida with his family when he reached into a pen, picked up the flamingo and threw her down.

VETS AT BUSCH Gardens had to put down Pinky the dancing flamingo after a man grabbed her from an animal viewing area and threw her to the ground.

According to a police report, 45-year-old Joseph Anthony Corrao of Orlando was visiting the theme park with his family when he reached into a pen in the Jambo Junction area, picked up the flamingo and threw her down.

Police Spokesman Stephen Hegarty said Corrao handled the bird “violently”.

Corrao was detained by the park’s security and arrested by Tampa police on a charge of animal cruelty after witnesses said they saw him throw the flamingo.

A witness said Carrao was “plastered”and that his wife tried to move him away from the bird before he grabbed it, according to local website WKMG.

Busch Gardens said the bird suffered injuries so “traumatic” that she could not be saved.

“A very sad and hard day for us here,” said a park spokeswoman Karen Varga-Sinka.

Pinky was a Chilean flamingo hatched at the park 19 years ago, in 1996. Her dancing movements made her one of the park’s stars.

“Pinky loved to dance for our guests,” Varga-Sinka added. ”She will be sorely missed.”

Her keepers say that this is not a trained behaviour, but a natural behaviour she loved 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 behaviour out of the water for guests.

Beyond senseless

Pinky also appeared on behalf of the park’s conservation and education efforts as an “ambassador animal”.

The park has 20 flamingoes, a mix of Chilean and Caribbean.

Corrao was released from jail on a $2,000 bond, which was later raised to $5,000, according to WKMG.

Judge John Conrad said Corrao’s actions were “beyond senseless”.

It actually borders on depraved.

“Mr Corrao, I don’t know if you have other issues.

I don’t know who does that, I really don’t - I don’t relate to that on any level.

Corrao previously served three years in prison in Florida after being convicted of aggravated assault on a person 65 years or older, felony DUI, and fleeing from a law enforcement officer. 

Multiple witnesses claim he threw the flamingo down with such force that the bird’s foot was severed.

Read: Dublin Zoo examining incident where boy was seen inside rhino enclosure

Read: “My son fell in with the gorilla”- Police release mother’s frantic 911 call from Cincinnati Zoo

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