Wildlife sanctuary workers are begging for the safe return of Sammy, the one-winged bald eagle stolen from their facilities.
The disabled bird of prey has called the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on the east end of Long Island, New York, his home for the last 30 years, until surveillance footage captured a figure smuggling it out of the sanctuary one night.
The person was caught on camera walking off with poor Sammy either in a bag or blanket. Wildlife refuge staff discovered multiple fences had been cut through to gain access to Sammy.
“I don't understand why someone would do such a thing and it's been such a part of the refuge for so many years, it's part of the family,” Michael Nelson of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge told WCBS.
Sammy is 35 years old, and has been living among the other permanently disabled wildlife after a gunshot wound led him to have a wing removed.
Because of the injury, Sammy can’t fly.
Young fans have been especially saddened by Sammy’s disappearance.
“The kids were really upset,” a camp counselor said. “They have been coming here their entire lives and look forward to seeing him.”
Police and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials are actively investigating the theft.
“We have no idea right now who took the bird and we are certainly concerned about his welfare,” said Marisa Nelson, of Quogue Wildlife Refuge. “And at this point, time is of essence.”