A wild mink weaseled his way into the tufted puffins exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo $ Aquarium this week, killing seven of the coastal birds and forcing closure of the exhibit.
Zoo staff discovered the dead birds and immediately closed the exhibit Wednesday. The mink was trapped and killed Thursday.
The surviving 19 puffins and five common murres will soon be sent to Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Ore. They will remain there while zoo staff renovates the exhibit, ensuring that future predators can’t get in. The work could take months.
“We took action quickly to ensure that our remaining birds are – and will remain – safe,” said Gary Geddes, director of the Zoological & Environmental Education Division of Metro Parks Tacoma.
Officials said the exhibit opened 30 years ago and no predator ever invaded the space until the mink.