An African flamingo that famously escaped Wichita’s Sedgwick County Zoo in 2005 has been on the run ever since. The freedom-loving bird was recently spotted hanging out with a flock of seagulls, in Lavaca Bay, Texas, 700 miles from the zoo it once called home.
The runaway bird is known as ‘No. 492’ because of the number on a plastic band still attached to its leg. Its legendary escape was due to an error by zoo staff who thought his flight wings hadn’t fully developed, so they didn’t bother cutting them. One night, the flamingo took advantage of some strong storm winds and escaped the zoo before staff even got the chance to determine its sex. The long-legged bird has been enjoying its freedom ever since, as the zoo never attempted to recapture it. That would be difficult to do anyway, both because sightings of No. 492 have been rare in the last 14 years, and because it was born in the wild and is wary of approaching humans.