GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, N.C. — Morely the Golden Eagle — Grandfather Mountain’s oldest eagle — has died.
The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation announced Thursday that Morely had died sometime during the night on New Year’s Day. He was found in his enclosure on Wednesday.
At 35 years old, Morely was the oldest animal in the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitats. He arrived at the mountain in 1984.
While Morely was a native of the western part of the country, a gunshot wound left him unable to fully extend one of his wings — rendering him incapable of hunting and surviving in the wild.
Trainers say Morely loved taking baths. When staff would walk by during his daily cleanings, Morely would “freeze and glare as if he was caught naked,” officials said.
“Baths were so important to Morely that he would climb into his water bowl when his pond was frozen in the winter months,” they continued.
The Stewardship Foundation is currently in the fundraising stage of an effort to renovate the eagle enclosure at Grandfather Mountain.
The upcoming renovations will completely enclose the habitat, allowing the mountain to acquire eagles that are partially flighted and protecting the inhabitants from wild animals.