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Micke Grove Zoo’s bald eagle, Modoc, dies at age 40

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Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:41 am, Fri Sep 28, 2012.

The staff at Micke Grove Zoo is mourning the death of Modoc, a bald eagle who lived at the zoo for 33 years. He was 40.

Modoc was rescued in 1974 after he was found with a broken wing caused by a gunshot, according to zoo curator Avanti Mallapur. He was trained to fly once his wing healed.

In 1979, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit for Micke Grove Zoo to acquire Modoc after it was determined he was unable to successfully hunt for prey or forage in the Channel Islands. Modoc had a heart condition and mild left eye infection, according to a news release from the zoo. He recovered from two eye surgeries in early 2012.

"He was such a fighter," said Carrie McMorris, Micke Grove's animal care specialist and Modoc's primary caretaker. "He was going to leave us until he was good and ready. On Aug. 23, 2012, his heart said it was time."

"Even though some birds cannot be released back into the wild, birds like Modoc get a second career as conservation ambassadors to the public," said Jennifer Brown of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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