Linville, N.C. — Morely the golden eagle, the oldest animal living in the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitat, has died of natural causes.
The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation reported the bird died overnight Tuesday and was discovered in his enclosure Wednesday morning. The eagle was about 35 years old.
Morely came to Grandfather Mountain from the western United States in 1984, after he was injured by a gunshot. The wound damaged one of his wings, and he was unable to survive in the wild.
Keepers said the eagle loved taking baths and would climb into his water bowl when his pond was frozen in winter months. Morely lived with several other eagles at the habitat, but he was the last survivor.
The foundation is raising money to renovate the eagle enclosure at Grandfather Mountain. The renovation will completely enclose the habitat, allowing the park to acquire more injured eagles.