A flamingo with two left feet?
Meet Floyd, or to use his full name, Pink Floyd, who has become quite the beloved character at the San Diego Zoo.
After the Caribbean flamingo hatched near the Zoo entry, keepers noticed that he was tilting to the left, like a skier leaning into a downhill turn.
If something wasn’t done, Floyd’s deformed legs wouldn’t support his growing weight.
Floyd didn’t technically have two left feet because, well, flamingo feet look alike, but his gait gave that appearance. So, veterinarian Geoff Pye operated.
“It was the first time that I had to perform that type of surgery on a flamingo,” said Pye, who is now animal health director at Disney’s Wild Kingdom in Florida.
Floyd actually underwent two operations, one on each leg. After his first leg healed, his second leg was fractured and collared with an external fixator (hot pink, of course) that had to be adjusted over time to straighten the leg as the bone healed.
Pink Floyd, the flamingo, recovers after surgery— San Diego Zoo Global
Fortunately, Floyd loves to be cuddled because, after his surgery, as many as 50 Zoo workers rallied to hold him upright in two-hour-to-four-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, for a couple of weeks. Extra security guards escorted Floyd’s caregivers at night. He was also hand-held during rehab sessions.
“One of my proudest moments was seeing all these people pulling together to help Floyd,” said Kelly Elkins, lead animal trainer at the Zoo’s Backstage Pass. “You had to appreciate how hard Floyd was fighting.”
Now the (nearly) straight-walking flamingo is a full-fledged member of the Backstage Pass show, greeting visitors and responding in Flamingoese when his name is called.
Pink Floyd has earned a new nickname, however.
“We call him ‘the million-dollar mingo’,” Elkins says