Downtowner News Briefs, May 11

Fox Breaks into National Zoo, Kills 25 Flamingos, One Duck 

The National Zoo reported that a wild fox broke through a metal mesh enclosure overnight earlier this month, and proceeded to kill 25 flamingos and one Northern pintail duck. Bird House staff arrived to discover the dead birds and moved the remaining 49 living flamingos indoors to their barn and the ducks to a covered and secure outdoor space.  

“This is a heartbreaking loss for us and everyone who cares about our animals,” said Brandie Smith, John and Adrienne Mars Director for the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in a press release. “The barrier we used passed inspection and is used by other accredited zoos across the country. Our focus now is on the well-being of the remaining flock and fortifying our habitats.”  

National Honor Flights to Resume Being Escorted by the Park Police and National Park Service 

Beginning next month, the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police will reinstate their relationship with the Honor Flight program. The partnership was suspended in the spring of 2020 due to pandemic precautions. As of June 1, park rangers and police will greet veterans at the memorial of the veteran’s choosing. They will also help out with parking and ranger-led programs to visitors.  

New Documentary on José Andrés Released 

A National Geographic documentary, “We Feed People,” was screened late last month, shining a light on local celebrity chef José Andres. The documentary was directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard and the 90-minute film explores the beginning of Andrés’s World Central Kitchen as it rose from local startup to international nonprofit. Andrés was on hand for the screening, taking a brief hiatus from his work in Ukraine.  

Rents Rise Considerably Across City 

Of course, rent has never been cheap in D.C., but recently it has spiked dramatically. According to reports from, Apartment Guide and Redfin, the average cost of renting a studio apartment has gone up to around $1,924, an increase of nearly 25 percent. One- and two-bedroom apartments are up 15 percent, topping out at $3,200 a month. Oddly enough, three-bedroom apartments are going for a bit less at $3,075.  

Metro Police Announce Campaign Against Violent Crime 

Metro Transit Police are increasing visibility on trains, buses and Metro stations, MTPD Chief Michael Anzallo said. Both uniformed and plainclothes officers will increase their patrols to “discourage criminal activity.” A community service bureau has also been established to work with schools and area neighborhoods, as well as mental health advocates to address crime issues.  



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