African flamingo on the lam (for 14 years!) spotted in Texas

This bird stands out in a crowd

5 fun flamingo facts

(Gray News) – Flamingo No. 492 is a survivor.

The lanky pink bird has been on the loose for nearly 14 years after escaping the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas.

The flamingo had barely checked into its enclosure at the zoo when it escaped, The Wichita Eagle reported. Zookeepers hadn’t even had a chance to clip the bird’s flight feathers.

Since then, it’s been spotted around the country. Often along the Gulf Coast, but as far north as Wisconsin too.

No. 492 was seen in Texas again last week, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

“What's pink and white and likes to spend time in Texas? An escaped African flamingo from a Kansas zoo!” Coastal Fisheries - Texas Parks and Wildlife posted to its Facebook page.

What's pink and white and likes to spend time in Texas? An escaped African flamingo from a Kansas zoo! Coastal...

Posted by Coastal Fisheries - Texas Parks and Wildlife on Friday, June 22, 2018

No. 492 made its appearance around Lavaca Bay, about halfway between Houston and Corpus Christi.

“The flamingo is back!” Texas Parks and Wildlife said on its Facebook account.

The flamingo is back! This flamingo escaped from a Kansas zoo in 2005 and is once again visiting the Texas coast....

Posted by Texas Parks and Wildlife on Thursday, May 23, 2019

And the pink visitor could be around for years to come. Flamingos live 20 to 30 years in the wild or up to 50 years in a zoo, according to Life Science.

Now that the bird appears to be a regular around the Texas coast, it seems the flamingo needs more than the moniker No. 492.

“Our flamingo friend is back for the second year in a row in Lavaca Bay! Should we give it a name?” Coastal Fisheries - Texas Parks and Wildlife asked.

Our flamingo friend is back for the second year in a row in Lavaca Bay! Should we give it a name? Spotted once again...

Posted by Coastal Fisheries - Texas Parks and Wildlife on Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Social media has come up with plenty of name possibilities. Here are a few of them:

  • Maddie – short for Madagascar, think of the movie with other escaped zoo animals
  • Count of Monte Christi – because it’s living near Corpus Christi
  • Carmen – like “Where in world is Carmen the flamingo?”
  • Eisenhower – because the former president lived in both Texas and Kansas (just like No. 492)

No word yet on when a name will be picked for the flighty flamingo.

In the meantime, Texans will be keeping an eagle eye out for their feathered friend.

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