A group of three children has beaten a flamingo to death and badly injured another at a Czech zoo after pelting them with rocks.
The boys aged five, six and eight attacked a flock of American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) at Jihlava Zoo in the town in the Czech Republic's south-central Vysocina Region last Friday.
"I was appalled by the brutal attack," Elizabeth Kubikova, the zoo's director, said on Sunday.
The boys were said to have climbed over a fence to reach the birds before pelting them with rocks.
The children were kicking two of the flamingos when an electrician interrupted them, one of the two birds died while the other sustained serious injuries.
The dead bird had been a survivor of the floods at Prague Zoo in 2002. He was 16 years old and father to eight babies. Flamingos tend to live to around 30-40.
The three boys fled the scene but CCTV footage led police back to them.
Martin Malac, the zoo spokesperson, told Czech media that the boys expressed no regret for what they had done.
According to local media, the boys refused to talk to municipal police so the officers called in state cops to deal with them. No motive for the attack has been reported.
Police are investigating and it remains possible that the boys' parents will have to pay for the damage they caused. The flamingo was valued at about 50,000 crowns (€1,837).
Richard Viduna, a zoo employee, asked for the public's help in reporting cases of animal abuse, telling Czech media: "It would be helpful for us if the visitors would pay attention to acts such as these and report them."