Zoo peacock bolts during roundup, only to become lion’s lunch


CALGARY — One of the Calgary Zoo’s seven brightly plumed peacocks died after it flew into the lion enclosure and was eaten during a pre-winter roundup of the birds.

The zoo says the peacock died last Thursday as the free-range birds — all males — were being taken to their cold-weather quarters.

Spokeswoman Trish Exton-Parder says it unexpectedly took wing and flew higher and faster than staff had assumed it could.

She says it landed quite some distance away in the lion compound, where one of two male lions launched an attack.

Keepers who tracked the bird’s flight later discovered feathers in the pen, indicating it had been eaten.

Exton-Parder says the other six peacocks are safely in their holding pen.

“It was very shocking for the animal care team,” said Exton-Parder.

“There’s nothing that they would have changed to have prevented something like this, so it’s not a fault issue, it’s just a peacock who randomly chose to take off in a different direction and landed in an unfortunate situation,” Exton-Pardner said.

“It will be on their minds for sure next year going in and knowing that there’s always that chance that one of the other birds might make a choice to go a different direction, but we’ll leave that to the expertise of our animal care team to determine if anything does need to be adjusted for next season.”

The Canadian Press