Old Alaska eagle is put down

January 4, 2011 

WASHINGTON -- An elderly bald eagle from Alaska has been euthanized at the Smithsonian's National Zoo after falling ill.

The eagle, named Sam, was euthanized Friday. She had been found lying in her exhibit last Tuesday and was taken to the zoo's veterinary hospital for treatment but eventually began to decline.

Sam came to the zoo in 2003 from the American Eagle Foundation. She was thought to be more than 30 years old. Sam was born in the wild and was found in Alaska with a gunshot wound in 1986. In the wild, bald eagles live into their late teens and early 20s.

The bald eagle is thriving in the wild and was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

One bald eagle remains at the National Zoo. The eagles have been out of public view during construction.

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