TAMPA, Fla.- The man at fault for killing “Pinky” the flamingo at Busch Gardens remains behind bars at the Tampa Orient Road jail.
Joseph Corrao’s, 45, bond has been set at $5,000. Corrao is accused of picking up “Pinky” and throwing her to the ground with such force the flamingo suffered severe injuries. “Pinky” had to be euthanized due to the extent of the injuries.
The incident occurred on Tuesday when Corrao, an Orlando resident, was visiting Busch Gardens. His mother, brother, three teenage children, and other witnesses were at the Jambo Junction animal viewing area with Corrao when he leaned into the animal pen and picked up a flamingo then returned that flamingo uninjured. He then picked up a second flamingo and that’s when witnesses told him to leave the flamingo’s alone. Unfortunately, “Pinky” the second flamingo Corrao picked up did not get returned safely.
“Pinky” was very special to the theme park making appearances across the Tampa Bay area as part of the park’s conservation and education efforts.
Corrao is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. Cruelty to animals is a felony charge with a prison sentence of up to five years in Florida.
This is not Corrao’s first time behind bars. He served three years in prison on convictions of aggravated assault on a person 65 years or older and animal cruelty. Corrao was also found guilty of killing a neighbor’s dog in 2013.
Busch Gardens released the following 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.”
SeaWorld and the Humane Society of the United States have teamed up to release joint statements on Wednesday condemning the attack. They both strongly urge prosecution in this case.
The quote from Busch Gardens’ statement came from WFLA’s news story.