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Exotic Zoo Escapee Evades Handlers from the Zoological Society of London

Crested Caracara Walk

The Crested Caracara is sometimes referred to as the “Mexican Eagle.” Although these powerful raptors resemble hawks, they are actually members of the falcon family. These distinctive falcons are found throughout South and Central America and in small sections of the southern regions of the United States. So why is there a Crested Caracara roaming city parks in south London?

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Jester on the Run

This Crested Caracara is not a globe-trotting wanderer like the famous and very lost Steller’s Sea Eagle which has been living in Maine for the last several months. No, this falcon is indeed lost but she is, in fact, not all that far from home.

The Crested Caracara, whose name is Jester, escaped from the Zoological Society of London’s London Zoo several weeks ago at the time of writing. On March 15, the London Zoological Society reported that Jester escaped during a flight training exercise. Although they are obviously quite eager to recapture the fugitive raptor, zookeepers are not terribly worried about her safety at this time. Crested Caracaras are well adapted to urban environments and are prone to scavenging behaviors.

Since her escape, Jester has been spotted at a number of locations throughout southern London. At this time, it has been reported that Jester has been sighted as far as eleven miles from the scene of her escape.

Crested Caracara
Photo by Wallace Bentt on Unsplash

Operation Raptor Capture

Numerous Jester sightings have been reported to the Zoological Society of London with many of them resulting in the dispatch of handlers to the Crested Caracara’s location. Handlers continue to attempt to coax Jester into carriers using her favorite treats and relying on her training and familiarity with trainers.

Many of those who have sighted Jester have been awed by this obviously out of place raptor. Jester, it seems, has been largely unable to maintain a low profile. Crested Caracaras spend much of their time walking on the ground rather than flying or perching in trees. As such, many photos have been snapped of the falcon escapee as she has continued her sightseeing escapade.

The Zoological Society of London has reminded the public that, although she is certainly striking, Jester is not a threat to anybody. Crested Caracara’s are more inclined towards scavenging than hunting. Despite her four foot wingspan, citizens are encouraged to relax. Jester is no danger to pets or people.

Londoners who spot the Crested Caracara are urged to report the time and location of the sighting to the Zoological Society of London as soon as possible. No attempts should be made to approach, interact with, or feed Jester except by her handlers.

Although zookeepers are confident in Jester’s survival skills, they are eager for her return home. Jester’s brother, Joker, is waiting for her back at the Zoological Society of London’s London Zoo. He is likely very excited to hear all about her journey.

UPDATE: The Zoological Society of London has confirmed that Jester has been caught and returned to her home at the London Zoo. She appears to be in good health and has been settling in well.

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