Today at approximately 1:00 pm, one of the Zoo’s two saddle-billed storks was able to glide from her primary habitat in the African Watering Hole antelope yard into the adjacent section of the African Watering Hole where rhino, zebra and ostrich reside. During the entire situation, which was fully resolved by 1:45 pm, the stork remained in the adjoining habitat and never left the Zoo property or entered any public areas.
Zoo staff first noticed the saddle-billed stork in the rhino habitat near the mud wallow. They called for assistance and the Animal Recapture Team immediately went to the African Watering Hole to assess the situation. Staff brought the rhino and zebra into the barns, while the rest of the team kept the stork in view as the recapture plan was put into place. Staff were able to safely secure the stork and relocate her to her primary habitat within 45 minutes.
Maryland Zoo staff are trained to respond to unexpected situations. The Animal Recapture Team routinely conducts on-site drills to prepare for a variety of scenarios that could occur at the Zoo including animal escapes, human or animal injuries and severe weather. The Zoo credits this training with the quick response and resolution that prevented the situation from becoming dangerous for the stork or for anyone involved.
The public was never at risk during this time. Zoo staff will be reviewing the incident, as well as the incident response, and will make changes in procedures as necessary.