The staff at the Utica Zoo are mourning the loss of their peacock, Merlin. The staff told media outlets that Merlin was roaming the ground and attempted to fly over the lion exhibit. He became trapped and was killed by a lion.
Here is the statement from the Utica Zoo on their Facebook page:
Utica Zoo staff is saddened to share that Merlin, our beloved White Peacock, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at approximately 10am. Merlin arrived at the Utica Zoo in 2006 as an adult male and spent his days roaming the grounds of the Zoo. He was regularly seen window shopping in front of the Gift Shop, relaxing in bamboo gardens, or calling out to his companions from high within the treetops. Merlin would also regularly join Keeper staff in the Eagle View Pavilion at lunchtime. He was a visitor favorite; displaying his pure white plumage for all to see. His distinct white feathers could be seen around the Zoo, providing an unexpected souvenir for visitors.
While roaming the Zoo this morning, Merlin flew over the perimeter fence of the African Lion habitat and encountered the lions who were on exhibit at the time. He was unable to fly out of the exhibit and was captured by a lion. Thanks to the staff’s rapid response, the Lions were recalled into their inner holding to prevent potential aggressive behavior towards each other. The Utica Zoo stresses that at no time were visitors, staff, or the general public placed into harm’s way as all of the preceding events took place within the inner habitat perimeter fence.
Merlin will be dearly missed by everyone at the Zoo.