The El Paso Zoo is saddened by the sudden loss of one of its most impressive and beloved conservation ambassadors, Golden Eagle Takota. Takota passed away on Wednesday night after a sudden illness he was being treated Zoo veterinarians had been treating Takota for two days for neurological symptoms.
Takota had been having issues with balance and disorientation, but the underlying cause has not yet been determined. Final CT scan and other test results arestill pending which could provide more details regarding the cause of death.
Takota joined the El Paso Zoo family in 2007 and became one of the most impressive and the community’s favorite conservation ambassador. Takota made a great impact to thousands in El Paso with special appearances at large community events and during personal encounters at the Zoo with visitors.
“He had such a gentle demeanor and is leaving a great void in our hearts, especially mine,” said his trainer and education specialist Heather Rivera. “I worked with him for over five and a half years, we grew together and we were a team. We went through a lot together due to his health issues but we created a bond which will always be one of my life’s greatest treasures,” said Rivera.
Takota came to the El Paso Zoo after being rescued by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent in Las Cruces. At that time, Takota was suffering from West Nile Virus and was brought to the Zoo to be treated during his recovery. Takota’s eyesight was permanently damaged by the West Nile Virus and it was determined that he would never see well enough to survive on his own if released back into the wild.
When Takota was rescued, it was evident that he had previously received gunshot wounds that had healed.
“Takota’s story is one of a true survivor. He came to the Zoo in such bad shape and near death but with an inspirational will to live. Because many staff assisted in his care and recovery, he was able to touch the hearts of so many of us. Whenever we introduced him to an audience, everyone was struck by his beauty, abilities, and majestic magnetism. I was very fortunate to have been on “Team Takota” and I share in the personal loss of this wonderful friend,” said zoo director Steve Marshall.