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Mesker Park Zoo Says 'Good-Bye' to Two Avian 'Ambassadors' Euthanized in June

Ramani the Sarus Crane (left) and Usona the Bald Eagle were animal "ambassadors," educating the public about these species.
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden
Ramani the Sarus Crane (left) and Usona the Bald Eagle were animal "ambassadors," educating the public about these species.

Usona, Bald Eagle and Ramani, Sarus Crane had medical problems zoo couldn't remedy

Last Month the zoo said ‘good-bye’ to Bald Eagle Usona and Sarus Crane Ramani. Both were euthanized in June and the zoo made the announcement Sunday July 10.

Shanon Irmscher, animal curator, says Ramani the crane had to be put down because of a broken leg.

“We did try surgery to repair it, but given the size of the bird, and cranes are a species that rely on their legs that so much and are so long legged, and her break was high up enough that the surgery wasn't able to repair it fully," Irmscher said. "So that was the best course of action for her.”

Veterinarian Jessica Marlowe says Usona the bald eagle’s problem might have been with a previous injury to one of her legs.

“She was starting to just fully lay down and basically exhibit positions that are abnormal for that species and can indicate discomfort and stress," she said.

Usona came to the zoo with one wing missing, previously amputated.

Marlowe says these decisions to euthanize are made in a group at the zoo and are based on each animal’s quality of life.

Irmscher said both birds were known unofficially as ‘ambassadors’ for their counterparts in the wild, educating the public about an animal they wouldn't otherwise see up close.

Ramani would interact with guests by responding to greetings with her own crane call.

“So I think a lot of people miss that — that presence. She was very, very visible, and very vocal as well," Irmscher said. "And then Usona I just think was such a recognizable species. I think they're both missed, for sure.”

Ramani came to the zoo in 2017; Usona in 2018.

The zoo currently has no plans to replace them.

Bald Eagles are found in North America.

Sarus Cranes are found in northern Australia, southeastern Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar) and the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, India, Nepal), according to the Denver Zoo.