Today we euthanized Peacemaker, one of our four bald eagles. He lost a significant amount of weight in the past month, and bloodwork told us he was suffering from kidney failure and severe inflammation.
Peacemaker’s story starts in California, where he injured his left wing in the wild and was brought to a veterinary school for treatment. Rehabilitators salvaged the damaged appendage with an experimental artificial skin graft, but severe muscle loss left him unable to fly. He arrived at the Zoo in September 2003 and developed a reputation for his unusual bathing habits: he would place his feet in the water, then flap his wings and jump in circles.
“Peacemaker was an amazing bird and such a sweetheart,” said Kim Castrucci, one of his keepers. “He was a little shy, but when you earned his trust, he was a lot of fun to work with.”
Because Peacemaker came into human care as an adult, we don’t have a good estimate of his age; he could have been anywhere between 25 and 40 years old. Wild eagles tend to live for 15 to 25 years, so we’re confident Peacemaker lived a long, full life.
Peacemaker’s legacy will live on. In accordance with federal law, his body will be sent to the National Eagle Repository in Colorado. This branch of the US Fish and Wildlife Service exists to supply eagle feathers and other remains to Native Americans, and keep these resources out of the hands of wildlife traffickers.