Flamingo That Escaped Zoo 17 Years Ago Has Been Filmed Off the Texas Coast

Pink Floyd, the famous flamingo that escaped a Kansas zoo 17 years ago, has been filmed off the coast of Texas.

The flamingo was spotted on March 10 in Cox Bay near Port Lavaca, Texas Parks and Wildlife said in a Facebook post. In the footage, Pink Floyd can be seen paddling in shallow coastal waters in the distance, easily recognizable among the other wildlife.

"Looks like Pink Floyd has returned from the 'dark side of moon!'" Texas Parks and Wildlife said in a caption to the video, in reference to the legendary band's album.

The escapee fled from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita in 2005, according to a 2018 New York Times report. As a preventative measure for such incidents, zoos usually cut off a part of a bird's wing when they are born, which prevents them from flying away.

However, according to The New York Times, when Pink Floyd and 39 other flamingos arrived at the Kansas zoo from their home country, Tanzania, they were adults and zookeepers were concerned cutting their wings was would be inhumane. Zookeepers instead decided to clip just their feathers.

Flamingo
A stock photo shows a flamingo in the wild. They are very rarely seen in the U.S. RK Balaji/Getty Images

But in 2005, Pink Floyd, along with a companion, managed to fly away from the zoo.

Soon after the escape, the two flamingos both went their separate ways following a large thunderstorm, The New York Times reported. The other flamingo went north and has not been seen since. Pink Floyd went to the Gulf Coast. Since then, he has been spotted throughout the years in Louisiana, Arkansas and sometimes as far away as Wisconsin, the BBC reported in 2018. Most sightings have occurred in Texas.

While American flamingos can be found in northern South America, the West Indies, Yucatán, and the Galápagos Islands, they are an extremely rare sight to behold in the U.S. They can occasionally be found in Florida but they do not breed there. For this reason, Pink Floyd has been a favorite among bird-watchers in the area ever since he escaped captivity.

The flamingo is now about 27 years old, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Flamingos tend to live longer in captivity, up to 50 years. In the wild, the average life span is 20 to 30 years.

Scott Newland the Sedgwick County Zoo's curator of birds, previously told The Kansas City Star in 2013 that he was hesitant to talk about how the bird escaped in a "very rare moment."

Newland said that it had been a "black eye," and "basically an error." The zoo is not fond of the story, he said.

Even though the flamingo is not living in its natural wild habitat, the species can usually adapt to its surrounding environment. A flamingo expert at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Felicity Arengo, told The New York Times in 2018 that provided the species have salty wetlands, they can be "pretty resilient."