A flightless bird who charmed Florida zoo visitors with his “larger-than-life” personality has died, the wildlife park said.
Jack, an African ostrich known for his curiosity and his love for attention, became a favorite at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
“Anyone who met him instantly became enamored with him,” zoo officials wrote in a Facebook post. “Animal care specialists would hear children excitedly shout ‘ostrich!’ as they approached the Rhino Overlook.”
But on Oct. 1, the zoo shared the sad update that Jack had died at age 25.
“He was a beloved member of the zoo family and will be dearly missed,” officials said. “At 25 years old, his death appears to be caused by natural age-related issues. The median life expectancy for ostriches is 10 years old.”
Jack is remembered for “engaging with large machinery” that would pass near his enclosure. He also spent time with other animals, including rhinos, crowned cranes and kudu — a type of antelope.
“He spends his days foraging through the grass, dancing with the cranes, lounging near the kudu and eliciting snacks and attention from his keepers,” the zoo wrote on its website in 2022.
After Jack’s death, the wildlife park encouraged people to share tributes on social media. Dozens of comments poured in, including from fans who wrote: “He will be missed.”
Ostriches are flightless birds that can grow to be 9 feet tall. They run faster than any other birds on land, reaching about 43 mph, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.