Penguins Torn to Pieces
Cologne Zoo on High Alert after Fox Attack
|I don't know nuttin' about no penguins
|Keepers at Cologne zoo are mourning the loss of five penguins torn to pieces by predatory foxes. The zoo's management is deploying new security measures to protect the remaining avian livestock.
|The fox has been the traditional enemy of farmers in Europe for centuries. Now, though, it looks like zoo keepers would be well advised to keep the cunning canines on their radar.
at Cologne's zoo are in a state of shock after a brutal attack on the
facility's penguin colony. Foxes tore five penguins to pieces, according
to the German tabloid Express.
|A nuisance skulk of foxes also recently attacked the zoo's flamingos and ducks. All three enclosures are now surrounded by a low-current electric fence to protect the feathered residents.
|Zoo executive director Christopher Landsberg told the newspaper that the fences are only a provisional measure. "We're working on a way to secure the periphery of the zoo to prevent the foxes from getting in in the first place," he said. The vulpine predators currently sneak onto the premises under cover of darkness through gaps in the perimeter wall.
|Foxes apparently plague zoos all over Germany. In 2008 in Aachen, they attacked another penguin enclosure, murdering 13 out of the zoo's 19 birds. The calling card of the fox: decapitation.
|Cologne zoo co-director Theo Pagel warned against the nighttime assassins in 2006. "You can't blame them, the table is so well laid," he said, according to Express.
|Zoo animals enjoy what is, on the whole, a sheltered life in captivity, but are still vulnerable to attacks, and not just by foxes. Danger can also lurk in the form of their fellow zoo inhabitants -- like the case of the murder of two red pandas in Nuremberg in 2008. An investigation found the killings to be the vengeful work of Reeves' Muntjac deer, who apparently slit the pandas' stomachs with their sharp teeth and hooves after one of their young was attacked by the red pandas.
|Sometimes, though, it's humans who pose the biggest danger to zoo animals. In 2007, three flamingos were found decapitated and a fourth was strangled in a bizarre attack at the Frankfurt Zoo. That same year in Erfurt, widespread disgust and outrage followed the news that keepers had been slaughtering their charges, including deer and goats, and selling the meat.
|Fox hunting is a necessity, and they are not very nice. Don't feel sorry for them, or let off your social biases interfere with the maintenance of the countryside.
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