The Eurasian eagle owl that escaped from the Minnesota Zoo during a training exercise earlier this month was found injured and has died, the zoo announced Thursday.
A concerned neighbor found the owl named Gladys, who was brown with glowing orange eyes, by the side of the road and took her to the zoo. She died by the time the medical team got to her, according to a tweet by the Minnesota Zoo.
It's been a difficult day for Gladys' caregivers, the tweet said.
"For the last five years, Gladys has been a beloved ambassador of her species in the bird show. The animal care team hand-raised her from a chick and worked with her daily," the tweet said.
The zoo thanked the community for its support and the information provided in the search for Gladys.
"Whenever an animal dies, we feel the impact of that loss as a zoo community," the tweet said.
The bird of prey had remained elusive since Oct. 1, when she went missing during a training exercise. She was thought to be hiding out somewhere on the zoo's 485-acre Apple Valley campus.
She was seen around the zoo but wasn't lured back by food and other objects. Zoo officials weren't concerned that cold weather or predators would hurt her, they said earlier this week.
Native to areas as snowy as Siberia, Eurasian eagle owls are naturally well equipped for cold winters and feed on small rodents like mice and squirrels, said Zach Nugent, the zoo's communications specialist.
The Eurasian eagle owl looks similar to horned owls. They weigh between 3 ½ and 9 ¼ pounds, with a wingspan of about 5 to 6 ½ feet, according to the Denver Zoo.
Erin Adler • 612-673-1781