Donations being accepted to replace zoo flamingos lost during last week's theft

Donations being accepted to replace zoo flamingos lost during last week's theft

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Some generous folks in Hattiesburg are helping replace two Chilean flamingos from the Hattiesburg Zoo that died last week when one of the birds was taken during a fraternity scavenger hunt.

Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions, said some folks have already made substantial donations to purchase new birds to replace the male and female who died as a result of last Tuesday's incident.

It all began when a USM student allegedly took one of the female flamingos from her exhibit. She was later found outside the zoo, but had to be euthanized because of injuries she received.

Devin Nottis, 19, of Pascagoula, faces charges of grand larceny and animal cruelty in connection with the theft.

A second male flamingo that was apparently injured in the incident also died.

Taylor said the zoo is not officially soliciting donations, but is accepting them, not only to replace the two dead flamingos, but also to build up the flock.

"We started with 22 flamingos, four of which were female," said Taylor. "We lost one of the females in this incident last week. But, you really need a minimum of 20 birds for them to want to nest and begin to breed and reproduce.  And we're below that number, so we do need to acquire a few more to get that number back up," he said. 

Taylor said two other flamingos died earlier of natural causes. He also said the zoo has already taken steps to improve security at the two-year-old exhibit, including adding new cameras. He said new fencing will also be coming soon.

To donate, contact the Hattiesburg Zoo at 601-545-4576, or email the zoo at

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