A golden eagle which escaped from Regent’s Park Zoo is still on the loose after outsmarting his keepers’ latest attempts to recapture him.
Goldie the Eagle escaped from the central London zoo eight days ago and has been dodging his captors ever since. He has spent most of the past week flying round the park – although he has also been spotted in Tottenham Court Road, Euston and Camden Town.
A crowd of about a thousand gathered in Regents Park today to watch the bird being chased by keepers, police, fire fighters and even a BBC reporter. The Navy has also been consulted about supplying a net and line-firing rifles.
Goldie, who has lived at the zoo for five years, escaped while his cage was being cleaned. He left behind his mate, Regina.
Joe McCorry, deputy head keeper of birds of prey at London Zoo, has predicted Goldie will be caught once he gets hungry.
The zoo has received hundreds of telephone calls and letters offering advice for his capture. Two teams of keepers have been tracking his progress using two way radio sets on loan from the Civil Defence.
The closest Goldie has so far come to being recaptured was yesterday while he was devouring a Muscovy duck in the grounds of the American Ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park. But he was scared off at the last minute when a reporter tried to throw a coat over him and the bird abandoned his meal half-eaten.
BBC reporter John Timpson recently returned from covering the Queen’s trip to Ethiopia tried to charm Goldie back to earth using an Ethiopian bird pipe – perhaps not surprisingly this ploy also failed.
Goldie the eagle was recaptured, as predicted, once he became hungry.
An hour and a half later, Goldie swooped down for his last picnic in the park. The keeper quietly walked up and caught him with his bare hands, secured his legs and took him back to the zoo.
He was declared unhurt after his ordeal and returned to his cage with his mate. London Zoo subsequently reported a big increase in visitor numbers, up to 6,500 from 3,700 on the corresponding Sunday the previous year.
Goldie made a second bid for freedom in December 1965 – but was recaptured after four days.
John Timpson, who was best known as a presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, died in November 2005 at the age of 77.
Text from BBCs OnThisDay