45-year-old Joseph Carrao has been arrested after allegedly picking up and throwing a flamingo to the ground at Busch Gardens in Tampa on Tuesday.
The incident happened at the Jambo Junction Animal Viewing Area with while he was with his family around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, according to police.
Carrao allegedly reached into the pen and picked up Pinky. Witnesses said he then 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 in a statement.
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.”
Joseph was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.