Pinky the flamingo from the Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa, Florida met a rather heart-breaking end this week after a deranged man reportedly attacked the bird for no good reason from outside of the animal pen.
The man, Joseph Anthony Corrao, 45, from Orlando, Florida, reportedly reached through the fence separating the viewing area from the animal retention to grab Pinky, and then despite being told by his own family to let the bird go, threw the bird at the ground with such force that it sustained severe life-threatening injuries.
"The defendant was witnessed by other patrons throwing the flamingo to the ground," local police said in a statement. "Due to the defendant's actions the flamingo suffered serious injuries and had to be euthanized.”
As a result of the injuries, which are said to have nearly severed the animal’s legs, Busch Gardens chose to euthanize the animal rather than leave it in suffering. Corrao has been charged with animal cruelty.
Pinky was a rather important part of the Busch Gardens environment. The Chilean flamingo was 19 years old, and was often the center of attraction at the park. A video below, shared by the park, shows Pinky putting on an entertaining show not even five years ago:
"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," Busch Gardens spokeswoman Karen Varga-Sinka said in a statement. "She will be sorely missed."
Whatever Corrao’s reasoning for attacking the animal was, the story ended with the loss of an animal’s life; worse, one that had touched the hearts of park employees for years.
In a court hearing, a judge noted that the Corrao’s choice to harm the animal was borderline depraved. The judge set bond at $5,000.
“It’s beyond senseless. It actually borders on depraved in my opinion, Mr. Corrao,” the judge said. “I don’t know if you have any other issues, but I don’t know who does that.”
The man remains in a Tampa jail as of the incident.