Macaw flies into tiger exhibit during rehearsal — and it was deadly, Nebraska zoo says

One of two new tigers at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.
One of two new tigers at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Screen grab of Lincoln Children's Zoo photo on Facebook

A macaw was participating in bird show rehearsal when it fatally flew into the tiger exhibit at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, KIBZ reported.

“The bird flew up into the air, went over into the tiger habitat where it was engaged by the tiger, who obviously knocked it down,” zoo spokesman Ryan Gross said, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star.

Zoo officials are not sure if the Sumatran tiger swatted at the green-winged macaw while the bird was in the air or when it already had landed, the Journal-Star reported.

The macaw was injured during the attack, KOLN reported, but zookeepers were able to secure the tigers.

The veterinary team took the bird for treatment, but it died from its injuries at the zoo’s on-site clinic, a statement from the zoo says, according to KIBZ.

“The safety of our guest, staff and animals is the highest priority,” the statement says, according to KOLN. “During the incident at no point were any of our guests or staff in danger. We are currently evaluating the situation with our animal team about our future flighted bird presentation.”

The macaw joined the Nebraska zoo in November, the Journal-Star reported, and it was learning how to fly from the zoo’s new Secret Jungle to an outdoor theater.

During the practice, though, the macaw “detoured into the Sumatran tiger habitat,” the newspaper reported.

That tiger habitat just opened last week as part of a $24 million expansion, according to the Journal-Star.

The grand opening for the expansions was on May 10, and included both the tiger habitat and the Secret Jungle, according to a Facebook event page.

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo introduced its new tigers to the public via Facebook on April 25.

“Welcome Axl and Kumar, Lincoln’s new Sumatran tigers,” the post says. “These brothers have been loving getting familiar with their new world-class home and zookeepers ... Their habitat features tall grasses, natural stone, a babbling stream with a pool for them to swim in, enrichment items, training areas where guests can watch how zookeepers work with these boys to help us take the best care of them, temperature controlled rocks, an interactive Jeep, and more! We can’t wait for you to meet them.”

The Secret Jungle was announced on May 2, and the zoo said it allows visitors to “hear a tiger’s roar, a frog croaking or birds calling out to each other.”

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