18 Inca tern exotic sea birds escaped from an aviary at ZOO Planckendael in Mechelen on Wednesday morning.
The zoo has asked local residents to keep an eye out.
The Inca stern bird can be identified by its dark grey body, white “moustache” on both sides of its head, and red-orange beak and feet. Whether the animals can survive for very long in the Belgian climate is not sure, as their natural habitat is mainly on the west coast of South America.
Grijze meeuwachtige met rood bekje en witte snor (incastern) gespot in de buurt van @zooplanckendael ?
Maak een foto en stuur dit met de locatie naar firstname.lastname@example.org of bel het meldpunt 015 450 903. pic.twitter.com/8QJz7c42yr
— ZOO Planckendael (@zooplanckendael) February 26, 2020
The zoo is investigating how the animals were able to escape, but it could have happened due to storm damage to the aviary.
The birds have not been brought back to the zoo yet, but there are indications that most, if not all of them are still in the neighbourhood.
“We have received many reports of people who have localised a or more birds still near the park after we put out or call yesterday,” Katrien Goossens, a ZOO Planckendael spokesperson told The Brussels Times. “We are hopeful that they will return to the park of their own volition when they are hungry. We are also playing recorded birdcalls throughout the zoo in the hopes that it will attract them,” she added.
The zoo asks people who spotted one of the birds to notify them. “They are very shy animals, which will undoubtedly fly away immediately when someone tries to approach them,” she added.
The Brussels Times