SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — An announcement was made by Tracy Aviary on Thursday, August 17, sharing news of the death of its longest-standing resident — a 64-year-old Andean Condor.
The condor, aptly named Andy N. Condor, was hatched in 1959 at the San Diego Zoo and arrived at Tracy Aviary the following year. According to staff members and his keeper, Andy reportedly died in his sleep on Wednesday night due to natural causes.
Andy was said to be an ambassador for his species, helping to educate both visitors at Tracy Aviary, as well as his more than 21,000 followers on Facebook, about the important role vultures play in maintaining healthy ecosystems.
According to the news release by Tracy Aviary, he was very well-known by condor lovers around the world and would receive hundreds of birthday cards and greetings from his fans each year.
In 2011, Andy is reported to have formed a special bond with staff member Helen Dishaw, which began their cherished tradition of taking morning walks together on the grounds of Tracy Aviary — often joined by other staff, visitors, and even dignitaries.
The release states that “Andy’s curiosity and gentle nature inspired and delighted anyone who encountered him.”
“Walking with a condor is an unforgettable experience,” says Helen Dishaw. “I count myself truly the most fortunate person to have had the honor of walking alongside my friend Andy every day. It is a cherished memory that I’m glad we were able to share with so many.”
Andy was a verified “celebirdy” with fans around the world and was photographed by thousands of visitors. In 2014, National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore documented Andy for the magazine’s Photo Arc project. His likeness has been featured in a variety of mediums, including oil paintings, sculptures, illustrations, and apparel.
A Facebook post announcing his passing remarks that his life will be celebrated in the coming weeks, but his keeper Helen and fellow staff are currently taking time to grieve privately.
The caption follows by saying, “That we have been graced by his walking alongside us in this lifetime is a gift we will carry with us always.”