Today, I am very sad. I met Merlin for the first time at the Utica Zoo last year for Brewfest. We actually hung out quite a lot, and I found him following me around several times that evening. We have had lots of fond memories together. I am now very sad to inform you of his passing.

Merlin arrived at the Utica Zoo in 2006 according to their press release as an adult and spent his days roaming the grounds of the Zoo. He often times liked to spend his time around the guests and staff. He was regularly seen window shopping in front of the Gift Shop, relaxing in bamboo gardens, or calling out to his companions from high within the treetops.

Officials say while roaming the zoo this morning, Merlin flew over the perimeter fence of the African Lion exhibit and encountered the lions. They say he was unable to fly out of the exhibit and was captured by a lion.

:( :( :(

According to the staff at the Zoo, no one was in harm's way, because the incident happened in the perimeter of the Lion exhibit. The lions were then called into their inner holding to prevent potential aggressive behavior towards each other.

Merlin, to me, was a huge staple of the Utica Zoo. He'll be missed tremendously.