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One of the Louisville Zoo's most iconic animal ambassadors passes away

Sequoia was estimated to be over 40 years old and lived at the Louisville Zoo since 1985.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Zoo is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic animal ambassadors, a roughly 40-year-old American bald eagle named Sequoia.

Sequoia lived at the zoo since 1985 after he was found in the wild with a broken wing, which had to be amputated to save his life.

He wasn't able to be released in the wild, so the Louisville Zoo became his new home. 

"In his 36 years with us, he was a terrific animal ambassador for his iconic species teaching guests about the value and beauty of birds of prey and predators," Louisville Zoo Director Dan Maloney said.

Maloney said when Sequoia came to the zoo in the mid-80s, bald eagles were considered an endangered species. 

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"In 2007 bald eagles were delisted when their numbers had increased due to successful conservation efforts that included the banning of pesticides like DDT," he said.

But bird curator for the Louisville Zoo James McKinney said that although their populations have recovered, many bald eagles are still being found injured every year. 

McKinney said some causes for injuries include vehicle collisions and power line electrocutions.

"The ones that may not be candidates for reintroduction because of the severity of their injuries may find homes in zoos or education facilities," he said. "Where they are safe and can help educate and inspire the public to be good stewards of their environment."

The Louisville Zoo will be closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day this year, with regular winter hours continuing through March 20, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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