Kept under wraps since February, Staten Island Zoo’s groundhog died a week after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped the creature on Groundhog Day this year. This accident was caught on camera, as the groundhog dropped to the ground out of de Blasio hands when it started squirming, according to “Fox and Friends” live on Friday morning Sept. 26.
The groundhog had just predicted six more weeks of winter when the mayor’s photo op with the creature went very wrong. The groundhog squirmed out of the mayor’s hand and fell several feet to the ground. According to NOLA, the animal died a week after the fall due to internal injuries, but they can’t say it was directly from that fall.
The New York Post reports that the zoo went to great lengths to keep the death of the groundhog away from the public. They also report that “Sources say her injuries are consistent with a fall.” The groundhog was said to have “died from natural causes” and told only a few zoo staff how the animal really died.
The Post also claims the zoo spokesperson “tried to downplay the mayor’s role in the critter’s death.” The zoo officials said that the creature could have gotten those injuries somewhere else after the Groundhog Day fall.
This groundhog was not the zoo’s famous “Chuck,” but a substitute named “Charlotte” that was used for the festivities that day. The zoo officials never notified the mayor’s office of the creature’s death.
The news of the groundhog’s death started a Twitter storm of jokers Thursday. The twitter world had everything from groundhog death cover-ups to a possible impeachment for de Blasio over the death. Again, it wasn’t anything that the mayor did to cause the animal’s death said the zoo.
Spokesperson for the mayor’s office, Phil Walzak said “We were unaware that Staten Island Chuck had passed but are sorry to hear of the loss.” A zoo spokesperson said that the handler from the zoo might have not been “forceful enough” placing the groundhog in the mayor’s hands as he was unable to get a firm grip.
As you can see in the video above, the animal got away from him almost instantly. After that incident, the animal was checked over thoroughly by the zoo’s vet and found to be fine. It was a week later that it was found dead and the examination after its death showed it died due to internal injuries. They do not think it was due to the fall, the animal could have been injured even the night before it died.
The zoo has four groundhogs, all with some variation of the name “Chuck.” Come Groundhog Day, the animal that is “least grouchy” is chosen for the festivities and dubbed “Chuck” for the day. It seems that New York City Mayors and the groundhogs from the zoo are just not a good fit.
Mayor Bloomberg was bit by “Chuck” back in 2009, holding the creature just as the mayor did this year. Shouldn’t this be a wake-up call to the handlers of the groundhogs? They are not creatures meant to be held. They don’t ever seem to be happy and welcoming when they are picked up. Couldn’t the festivities continue by leaving the animal in its cage?