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Happy Hatchday, Cecil!

Forty-one never looked so good! No, I am not talking about myself. Believe it or not, I am not that old … yet. Let me be the first to wish our male double-wattled cassowary, Cecil, a happy hatchday. Cecil burst into this world on August 24, 1979, at the Denver Zoo. Cecil also spent some time at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, before finally making his way into our lives. Since 2008, we have been proud to call Cecil a member of our Zoo Atlanta family.

Now I know what you are thinking. Forty-one seems like a long time for an animal to live. Believe it or not, there are birds that can live longer than him. Some species of parrot can outlive humans. How does that make you feel? Even still, outside the bird world there are animals that live even longer. Some species, such as the Aldabra tortoise, which can be seen here at Zoo Atlanta, can live way well beyond 100 years.

Cassowaries are very secretive in their natural habitat. This makes learning more about them very challenging. However, over the years we have been able to determine, especially in zoological organizations, that double-wattled cassowaries live between 20 and 40 years. Yes, that means Cecil has already beaten the odds. It is important to note that we are continually learning more about our animals and have to make estimations on facts such as lifespan with the best science currently available. That 20-40 lifespan isn’t wrong; it just means that Cecil is extra special.

While credit obviously goes to Cecil for beating the expectations, an equally big shoutout goes to the people who have cared for him. This includes animal care teams at his previous zoos, but especially here at Zoo Atlanta. Caring for an animal in is a lot of work, and even more so in their “retirement years.” Cecil is a special bird for all of us here, and we are thankful for each year we get to care for him. Make sure you come by soon so you can brag about seeing a 41-year-old giant bird. Happy hatchday, old man!

Kyle L.
Keeper II, Birds

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl