Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Bright red bird escapes from zoo

A rare bird has escaped from Edinburgh Zoo and is on the loose in the city

A rare bird has escaped from Edinburgh Zoo and is on the loose in the city.

Keepers noticed the scarlet ibis went missing on Wednesday morning. It was later spotted three miles away in Dundas Street, close to the city centre.

The bird is believed to have escaped through a hole in netting which covers its enclosure. It is in danger of being attacked by predators because of its bright colour.

The zoo and animal welfare charity Scottish SPCA are tracking the ibis and say they were close to catching it several times.

Darren McGarry, head of animals at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "Our bird team noticed one of our scarlet ibis was missing from the enclosure this morning and a search of Edinburgh Zoo showed the bird had seemed to have left the site. This was confirmed when members of the public spotted it on Dundas Street.

"A small hole in the netting over the top of the enclosure was apparent this morning, so we think a squirrel must have chewed threw it overnight.

"The ibis has obviously decided to make an escape and fly into the centre of Edinburgh to see what all the fuss is at this time of year. In all seriousness though, we are a bit concerned about the bird as it is so brightly coloured and could be attacked by other native birds, due to its unusual colouring.

"We're also extremely surprised that it flew so far: three miles in total.

"Together with the Scottish SPCA, our bird team have come close to capturing the bird a few times but we haven't had success yet. They'll return again early evening for some more attempts and will continue trying until it gets dark, then again tomorrow morning.

"The best way to catch the bird will be when it comes down on its own or gets hungry."

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