Tahoe: Beloved Zoo Atlanta hawk, 23, dies after getting into an altercation with wild animal

Tahoe: Beloved Zoo Atlanta hawk, 23, dies after getting into an altercation with wild animal
Zoo officials revealed that Tahoe would enjoy flying above audiences whenever the opportunity came (David Stemple/ Atlanta Zoo)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: A beloved hawk from Atlanta Zoo has died suddenly after apparently fighting with a wild animal. The hawk, Tahoe, had spent more than 20 years performing in the zoo's wildlife show as a member of the World Wildlife Theatre member.

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His death has "deeply saddened" the Atlanta Zoo family, who are heartbroken to share the news while investigations continue to find out the actual cause of death. The Zoo officials announced the tragic death in a statement which they also shared on Facebook.

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The Zoo officials shared that they believed that Tahoe died after an altercation with a wild animal, however, they were still investigating the actual cause of death. "While our teams are still actively investigating his cause of death, it is apparent that Tahoe, who was housed in a secure outdoor mew, died from injuries sustained from an altercation with a wild animal," the Zoo officials said.

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As per Zoo Atlanta records, Tahoe was born in 1999 and joined the Zoo as a juvenile the same year. In the statement, the Zoo members said, "will no doubt remember his soaring flights and aerial magnificence as he introduced thousands of people to his species, native to the Southwest U.S. and often known as “the wolves of the sky.”'

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They further added, "Tahoe will be deeply missed by all his many care team members over the years, past and present," saying, "Our thoughts and love are with our Ambassador Animals Team."

Talking about the ongoing investigation, the Zoo officials said, "Our Animal Care and Veterinary Teams are vigilant about protecting the safety of all members of our animal population and the facilities in which they are housed, all while appreciating the fact that, given our fortunate park setting, we share our grounds with native wildlife." It added, "Our teams have proactively assessed each of our World of Wild Theater bird mews and are pursuing additional preventative measures, including but not limited to scouring the area for feces, hair, or other sources which may shed clues."

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The Zoo officials also revealed that the bird would enjoy flying above audiences whenever the opportunity came. Moreover, he seemed to "enjoy flying low enough to cause the stir."  “Tahoe appeared to enjoy his opportunities for flights above an audience, and really seemed to enjoy flying low enough to cause a stir,” said Rebecca Young, Curator of Ambassador Animals and a member of the team who knew Tahoe closely. “He was a bird who made you work for your relationship with him, and he made you work to keep it.”

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