london zoo

The London Zoo housed a male golden eagle in the 1960s that they named Goldie. As we know, eagles love to fly high and be free. I don’t think they take well to being fenced in, at least Goldie certainly didn’t take well to it. On February 28, 1965, Goldie decided to take back his freedom. Goldie’s escape caused a nationwide sensation for the 12 days of his freedom. Then they caught him again. I feel sad for Goldie after he was caught, because being free was all he really wanted.

Goldie first flew away from his keepers, while his cage was being cleaned. He saw his chance and he took it. Enjoying his newfound freedom, Goldie avoided being recaptured for nearly two weeks, despite a massive effort using equipment borrowed from the Royal Navy and Civil Defense Corps. He didn’t seem to have a desire to stray too far, and spent most of the time in Regent’s Park, which is the area surrounding the zoo. He also made a few excursions into the nearby neighborhoods of Camden Town, Tottenham Court Road, and Euston. Those excursions brought him into the British public eye, and people were excited about this bit of celebrity. The zoo began receiving phone calls and letters in the thousands. Regent’s Park was the site of large crowds gathered to watch the bird’s keepers trying to catch Goldie. Drivers circled the park to watch Goldie in flight, causing severe traffic jams in the area. Of course, the media had a field day with the whole thing. There is nothing more interesting that watching the spectacle of a bunch of trainers trying to chase down an eagle…like they would have an easy success there. In fact the opposite was true, because Goldie spent two weeks roaming free before they finally caught him. Goldie was pretty resourceful too, because he managed to kill a duck in the garden of Winfield House, official residence of the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, within Regent’s Park. Goldie also attacked two terriers in the park, but was driven off by their owner. Of course, nobody likes to think about that part, but it is normal for a predatory bird. In fact, it was food that finally caught Goldie. He was finally caught on 11 March after the zoo’s deputy head keeper tempted him to earth with a dead rabbit. He was in good health after his experience and was reunited with his mate, Regina, which may have been the reason Goldie stayed in the area. The zoo’s attendance nearly doubled in the days after his return. That wasn’t the end of Goldie’s story however. Goldie escaped once again on December 15, 1965, and was recaptured December 19, 1965. I think that while Goldie loved his mate, Regina, he didn’t want to be fenced in. Golden eagles are monogamous, staying with their mate for years or even life. On March 8, 1985, Goldie was sent to the Falconry Centre in Newent, and died there about March 23, 1986.

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