UTICA, N.Y. -- A peacock at the Utica Zoo was killed in the lion exhibit Wednesday morning.
The staff says a white peacock, Merlin, was roaming the grounds and flew over the African lion exhibit around 10 a.m. when he was unable to escape, and ultimately was killed by a lion.
Zoo officials are saddened to lose a crowd favorite, saying Merlin often enjoyed window shopping at the gift shop, relaxing in the bamboo gardens, calling out to his friends from the treetops -- showing off his white plumage as an "unexpected souvenir for visitors."
The Utica Zoo says at no time were visitors, staff, or the public in harm's way, although they did have to act quickly to prevent potentially aggressive behavior amongst the lions.
Merlin was a beloved member of the zoo family, and they say he will be dearly missed.