HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Zoo is thanking donors who've helped increase its population of flamingos.
Moselle Elementary School's Junior Beta Club, Petal Primary School's PTO and the Krewe of Zeus received trophies Thursday for contributing funds to aid the zoo's purchase of eight new Chilean flamingos.
They were bought from Sea World Orlando and were in quarantine until Thursday afternoon, when they were introduced into the zoo's colony.
Two years ago, one of the zoo's flamingos was hurt and had to be euthanized after being stolen by a USM student. A second bird died from injuries it received during that theft.
A few other birds have since died of natural causes.
The colony now has 23 flamingos, including nine females.
"They're naturally found in huge flocks of hundreds of individuals," said Stephen Taylor, animal care manager at the Hattiesburg Zoo. "They like to have big groups so they feel safe enough to breed. So, we're hoping later this year, we might see some signs of breeding and hopefully, have some babies here in the future."
The colony was first exhibited in 2013.