A peacock that survived a dramatic rescue in subzero degree weather after it fled a West Dundee zoo Tuesday has died, an official confirmed Wednesday.
Blue the peacock passed away overnight, likely from fluid that built up in his lungs from being outside too long, said Tom Mammoser, executive director of the Dundee Township Park District. Blue was 5 and lived his entire life at the Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo.
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"It's unfortunate that it happened, but these are the harsh realities of what this kind of weather can do," Mammoser said.
Tuesday morning after being fed, Blue flew out of a heated building at the zoo; the employee who did the feeding had opened the door to leave when Blue left the building, Mammoser said.
The bird flew to the top of a 60-foot pine tree. After several attempts to rescue the bird themselves, employees called the West Dundee Fire Department, which sent over a ladder truck and took an employee up to grab Blue. At the time of the rescue, which occurred 90 minutes after he left the zoo, Blue's feet were frozen to a tree branch. Employees worked to warm him up once inside and a veterinarian administered antibiotics to prevent his legs from swelling and fluid from gathering in his lungs. It was 12 degrees below zero at the time of his rescue, officials said.
Blue's death has prompted the park district to evaluate its feeding operations.
"This is a real rare situation under unique circumstances, but we'll look at our procedures to make sure nothing like this ever happens again," Mammoser said, noting that 10 other peacocks live at the zoo and that none of them, or any other animals, have ever tried to leave.