Flamingo agogo

When Dudley Zoo needed to move its flamingos to a temporary site recently, it needed a man with a plan…and a van. Dudley Zoo curator Matt Lewis was that man. He said: “Extensive on-site tree management has been going on throughout the past few days and included an area in the flamingo enclosure that needed attention. We needed to use felling kit to bring down some of the big branches so it was crucial the birds were safely out of the way for half an hour or so. “This meant the external enclosure had to be cleared, but we couldn’t put the birds in the overnight shelter, because the tree causing the problem was directly behind the building and there were fears it could fall on to the roof. “There are no other suitable enclosures nearby we could have taken over, so the only solution was to put them in the zoo van until the work was completed.” Mr Lewis and his team had the difficult task of getting the eight flamingos into the back of the van. He added: “Moving a flamingo is a tricky business. You have to keep hold of its head, because it can give an extremely nasty peck, and then lift the body quite high so the bird’s feet don’t drag on the floor. Happily, none of them struggled and once they were put into the darkness of the van they settled down and went to sleep. “There were a few moans from staff members who weren’t able to use the van for a while, but we didn’t want anyone taking the flamingos for a drive, so I kept a firm hold of the keys until they were all back in the enclosure.”