Officials at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are searching for a lost stork that got swept up in a wind gust Monday and flew away from the park.
Zoo officials confirmed Wednesday that the painted stork has been gone since Monday afternoon. Animal care staffers are actively searching for the exotic bird in the North County and surrounding areas, and have alerted other local bird experts about the lost stork.
According to the website the Internet Bird Collection, the painted stork is a broad-winged, soaring, tropical species that breeds in lowland wetlands with trees in Asia, India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
Typical of all storks, the painted stork flies with its neck outstretched. It has mainly white and black feathers, a red head and a long, downcurved, yellow bill, according to the Internet Bird Collection.
Safari Park officials say it is unknown how far the stork could have traveled.
According to website The Big Zoo, the painted stork is classified as a near-threatened species due to a moderately rapid population decline influenced by hunting, wetland drainage and pollution.