TAMPA, Fla. — An Orlando man has been arrested after allegedly picking up and throwing a flamingo to the ground at Busch Gardens in Tampa Tuesday.
Joseph Carrao, 45, was in the park’s Jambo Junction Animal Viewing Area around 6:45 p.m. with his mother, brother and three children, according to police.
That’s when witnesses said Corrao reached into the pen, picked up Pinky and violently threw the flamingo to the ground.
“Due to the defendant’s unnecessary actions and excessive force, the flamingo had to be euthanized,” police said.
Pinky was 19 and well-known at the park for her dance routines.
Busch Gardens issued a statement on Wednesday:
“Yesterday evening at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, an adult male guest attacked one of our animal ambassadors, a Chilean flamingo known as Pinky, causing traumatic injuries.
Pinky was immediately transported to the park’s Animal Care Center where veterinarians made the decision to humanely euthanize her based on the severity of her injuries.
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. She will be sorely missed.”
Carrao was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.
“It’s beyond senseless,” Tampa Judge John Conrad said. “It actually borders on depraved, in my opinion.”
Corrao has been released on $5,000 bail.