Think pink: Sunken Gardens has a flamingo shortage - FOX 35 News Orlando

Think pink: Sunken Gardens has a flamingo shortage

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Who knew? After nearly 60 years, St. Petersburg's Sunken Gardens has a flamingo deficiency.

"We need more flamingos," said facility supervisor Bill O'Grady. "We're down to just two and keeping them in pairs or singly is just not psychologically to their advantage. They like to be in a group."

Local residents and businesses have started a "Flamingos Forever Fund."

Big pink birds, named George and Lucy, are the last of a flock purchased in 1956.

But international treaties no longer allow the plundering of baby flamingos in the wild.

"We started looking around and finding that the going price for buying just a few of them would be $6,000 or $7,000 apiece and of course...we just can't spend that kind of money on birds," O'Grady said.

Fortunately, there are local flamingo lovers, including nearby shop owner Marion Mitchell.

"Sunken Gardens wouldn't be quite the same without the flamingos," Mitchell said. "We're calling it Flamingo Flocking Fun."

There will be activities for the kids starting Saturday at 9 a.m.

"Then they're going to flock down here and meet George and Lucy, get their pictures taken with the flamingos," Mitchell said. "It's really to create an awareness in the community."

Separately, other flamingo lovers have formed a group called the "Flamingos Forever Fund." The "forever" refers to a long term goal of building a new habitat and breeding flamingos.

That is an ambitious plan: O'Grady said flamingos like to breed in large groups of 40 or more birds.

However, Sunken Gardens' history with flamingos is endangered.

If either George or Lucy passes away, the park will have to find another home for the last bird standing.

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