POLITICS

Peacock escapes from High Park Zoo, on the loose in Toronto's west end

05/29/2015 10:51 EDT | Updated 05/29/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - A peacock has flown the coop and is on the loose in Toronto, flying from rooftop to rooftop.

The bird escaped High Park Zoo Wednesday, was coaxed back into its pen on Thursday and escaped again Friday morning, according to a spokeswoman with the city's parks, recreation and forestry department.

As of Friday night, despite efforts by park staff and Toronto Animal Services, the peacock remained up in a tree in a residential neighbourhood.

Iain McCauley was walking to work near the park when he saw a big, blue bird sprinting down the street Friday morning. He said he looked at his neighbour, back to the bird and then back to his neighbour.

"Yeah, it's a peacock," his neighbour said.

McCauley said another man crouched nearby, trying to corral the bird.

"He wanted to get it in a backyard, for some reason," McCauley said. "Then it flew up to the rooftop, which was crazy — I didn't know they could fly."

But McCauley, who is a teacher, said he had to get to class, so he snapped a few photos, posted one on Twitter, and went on his way.

Others flocked to Twitter to follow the bird, which by Friday morning had its own account.

"Just going for a stroll," the @Torontopeacock account tweeted at 10 a.m.

"Oh relax, your green bins are safe. I don't eat garbage," read another tweet posted shortly after.

Nancy MacSween, a spokeswoman with the parks department, said the peacock spent Wednesday night in a residential tree before being lured back to the zoo Thursday morning.

The zoo has five peacocks and eight peahens — none are named — which live in an enclosure with three-metre high fences, MacSween said in an email.

They roost in the trees within the enclosure at night and usually stay close to greens and bird seed they eat, she said.

"This week, the peacock expanded its range to the greater neighbourhood," MacSween said.

"There have been past escapes from the enclosure, however peacocks have remained in the park area and returned on their own."

If the bird gets out of its tree, residents shouldn't try to capture it, but should call 3-1-1 to have a specialist come out to help, she said.

The peacock isn't the only wild animal to get loose in Toronto.

In 2012, a rhesus macaque, was found wandering in an Ikea in a shearling coat. The Ikea Monkey, as it was dubbed, was captured and taken from its owner, who fought in court to have it returned, but lost.

Darwin now lives in a sanctuary north of the city.