Bald eagle dies at the National Zoo
Sam, an elderly female bald eagle who had lived at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo since 2003, was euthanized by officials on Dec. 31, authorities said.
Sam was found lying in her exhibit Dec. 28 and was taken to the zoo’s veterinary hospital for treatment. She initially responded to medical treatment, but her condition began to decline and she was euthanized.
A full postmortem examination was conducted and results will be available in several weeks, zoo officials said.
Sam, who was born in the wild and thought to be more than 30 years old, lived in Alaska until 1986, when she was found suffering from a gunshot wound. Because of that injury, she could not be released back into the wild. Sam came to the National Zoo in 2003 from the American Eagle Foundation at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. From 1990 to 1992, she participated in traveling educational exhibits.
Bald eagles can live into their late teens and early 20s in the wild. A few wild eagles have lived into their 30s.
The bald eagle population is thriving in the wild and was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in June 2007. The zoo currently has one bald eagle left and is considering adding more. The remaining bald eagle is not on exhibit because of construction of the new seal and sea lion exhibit in the Beaver Valley section of the zoo.
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