WICHITA, Kan. – After two years on the lam, a pink flamingo that escaped from the Sedgwick County Zoo has been spotted in Louisiana with a wild Caribbean flamingo in a ship channel area of southwest Louisiana.
The latest sighting three weeks ago was in the Calcasieu Ship Channel on private land accessible only by boat. Officials with the zoo in Wichita learned of the wayward flamingo's whereabouts late Friday because the birds were identified by numbers on their leg bands.
The zoo's flamingo was still traveling with the same companion that was with it during an earlier sighting. The two birds were seen at the Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas in December 2006.
The other bird, a rosy red wild greater flamingo, came up from Mexico during hurricanes Rita and Katrina. The discovery excited bird watchers in Louisiana because it was the first documented sighting of a wild greater flamingo in the state.
"We're very happy to see he's been spotted again," said zoo spokeswoman Christan Baumer.
The zoo does not plan to try to get the flamingo back.
"There really isn't an easy way to recapture the bird. It would only disturb wildlife where it's been found and possibly could do more damage to the bird than just leaving him alone," Baumer said.
Flamingos are social birds, so it is not unusual they are staying together, she said.
Members of Louisiana's ornithological society tried to locate the birds a few days after they were identified, but they had left the area. The zoo expects more sightings as the birds continue to look for safe places, food and water.
The Sedgwick County Zoo's flamingo is one of two that escaped June 27, 2005. Their other escaped flamingo has not been spotted.