Penguins and flamingo fall prey to peckish foxes

One of the most surprising disclosures in the report is that wild foxes have been creeping into the zoo and killing the exhibits.

On 18 March 2009, foxes passed through broken fencing and killed 11 of the zoo’s South African and Rockhopper penguins in a single night.

The attack is thought to have happened around dawn, between the end of security guards’ night-time inspections and the arrival of day staff.

Keepers discovered the dead penguins at 7am and cleared up their bodies before the zoo opened three hours later, presumably with visitors oblivious to the carnage.

There have been several further fox attacks: the carnivores returned and changed their menu to include a flamingo, a pair of large guinea pig-like rodents more commonly found in Patagonia, and poultry.

The report details another unusual incident – the unfortunate demise of a yellow-tailed mongoose, killed while burrowing when a loose porcupine quill punctured its abdomen.

Asked whether there had been any other animals killed by fellow animals, the zoo said an Arabian gazelle had to be put down after a “particularly aggressive scuffle with a zebra”.

The report noted: “There have been fox attacks at both the penguin and flamingo enclosures. An investigation into that [the penguin] incident established that the fence surrounding the penguin pool was damaged and not reported to ZSL.”

The inspectors asked the zoo for its pest control measures. After reviewing them, they remarked that there were “significant pest and vermin problems”. The zoo had “significant programmes” to deal with the problem, it acknowledged, but the efforts had been undermined by the moving of some fox traps by persons unknown.

Asked for a list of all animals killed by foxes since January 2007, ZSL told The Independent that mortalities included 11 penguins (all killed on 18 March 2009), one flamingo, two South American mara (rodents resembling small kangaroos), and a free-range chicken – killed in February this year, indicating that fox attacks remain a problem.

On the penguin attack, the zoo said: “Keepers believe a vehicle exiting the car park adjacent to the enclosure on Wednesday evening may have unknowingly damaged the perimeter fence, which pressed against and snapped an electric wire inside the enclosure.

“This left a short section of fence without an electric deterrent. The entire enclosure was immediately re-wired and the fence strengthened. The penguin enclosure had been in use for five years prior to this and there had been no previous incidents of foxes gaining access.”

It said that the penguin population was now 41, having been boosted by breeding and the transfer of one individual from Whipsnade Zoo, which ZSL also runs.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living