PHOTO: "Pinky" the flamingo was an animal ambassador for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (photo via Twitter).
An Orlando man has been arrested and faces charges of animal cruelty after injuring one of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's beloved flamenco-dancing flamingos.
The alleged attack, which occurred Tuesday evening, resulted in severe injuries to Pinky — a 19-year-old Chilean flamingo and Busch Gardens animal ambassador — that forced veterinarians at the park's Animal Care Center to euthanize her.
According to the Tampa Police Department, 45-year-old Joseph Corrao was visiting the theme park with his mother, brother and children when he reached into the animal pen at the Jambo Junction viewing area.
That's when witnesses said Corrao picked up one flamingo before putting it back down. He then picked up a second flamingo and threw it to the ground, nearly severing its foot.
Witness Amy Wallace described the disturbing incident to WFTS:
"I was over by where the eagle enclosure was. I heard a lot of screaming. I looked over and saw the guy holding a flamingo above his head, shaking it violently screaming, 'I got one, I got another one.' Bird just flattened out, just like an egg. Splattered on the ground with its wings out and it started going into tremors."
Witnesses prevented Corrao from leaving the area and he was detained by park security before being turned over to police.
"It's beyond senseless," Judge John Conrad said during Corrao's initial court appearance Wednesday via WFTS. "It actually borders on depraved, in my opinion."
"I don't know if you have other issues," added Conrad, "but I don't know who does that."
Busch Gardens spokeswoman Karen Varga-Sinka told CNN that the park is taking the loss "extremely hard" and described it as a "very sad day for us all."