Radio 2

Bellewaerde tries to catch escaped flamingo using…mirrors

Staff at the Bellewaerde theme park and zoo in West Flanders are still trying to catch a flamingo that escaped three weeks ago. Since then, the bird that is called Flammy has been on the Zillebeek Pond in the nearby town of Ieper. Flammy is still showing no signs of being home sick and all attempts to catch the flamingo so far have been in vain. Now new tactics are being deployed in effort to lure Flammy off the pond. Bellewaerde Zoo’s Head Keeper Pieter Vercruysse told VRT News that he and his staff are trying to lure Flammy into a cage by using mirrors. 

Keepers from Bellewaerde Zoo had hoped to win Flammy’s trust by scattering fresh “flamingo feed” near to a cage placed on the edge of the Zillebeek Pond. However, Flammy has shown no interest. Instead, she has been catching her own food. 

“We often see her stamping on the ground to bring insects, slugs and other small animals to the surface of the pond. She then uses her beak to filter them out of the water. So, there is enough food in the pound”, Mr Vercruysse said. 

In an effort to catch Flammy keepers have now installed mirrors around the cage. “A flamingo is an animal that lives in a colony, normally consisting of hundreds or even thousands of birds. The more of them there are, the better they feel. So, we are trying to lure Flammy to the feeding place and the cage. She has been alone for weeks. Hopefully she will soon make contact with her 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' in the mirror." 

Meanwhile, Bellewaerde has installed signs providing information about the Flamingo around the pond.  The signs read “Flammy feels very good on the Zillebeek Pond. The keepers from Bellewaerde are doing all they can to catch the bird during the coming weeks and bring her safely back to her counterparts. In the meantime, you can enjoy this unique scene”. 

Mr Vercruysse told VRT News that the signs also call on those that go to see the flamingo on the pond not to disturb Flammy. The zoo doesn’t want her to fly off as there is still a chance that she can be caught if she stays put. 

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