North Carolina Zoo announces deaths of ostrich, harbor seal


(North Carolina Zoo)

ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) — Two longtime residents at the North Carolina Zoo — an ostrich and a harbor seal — have died.

An ostrich named Pearl was euthanized on Wednesday, zoo officials announced this weekend. And the N.C. Zoo said earlier last week that the seal named Paco had died, The Courier-Tribune of Asheboro reported.

“Some weeks at the Zoo are harder than others,” a zoo Facebook post said.

Pearl was 19 years old and had lived on the state zoological park’s Watani Grasslands since arriving in Asheboro at age 1. When Pearl was under general anesthesia, veterinarians learned she had a severe reproductive disease that would kill her, the newspaper said.

The cause of death for Paco, who lived at the N.C. Zoo for 13 years, hadn’t yet been determined, but he had a large mass on his lung, WTVD reported.

Pearl was considered one of the star attractions at the zoo’s safari attraction.

“She was a bird whose respect you had to earn, but once you did, she showed you all her funny quirks, played grape games and would let you warm your hands under her wings on cold winter mornings,” keeper Jade Tuttle said.

Paco always made zoo workers laugh and smile, said Sally Adams, manager of the zoo’s Rocky Coast Habitat: “He was handsome and strong, super smart, craved challenges, always made his keepers think and try new ways of doing things.”

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