Football fan charged with attempting to punch team’s bald eagle mascot

Kayla began life snatched from the Canadian wilderness as a chick, but wound up one of the stars on the soccer pitch in the United Kingdom. Now, the bald eagle is at the centre of a most unusual police investigation.

Kayla is the mascot for Crystal Palace Football Club, and is known for flying around the stadium at every home game. But on Sept. 23, violence broke out during a match with Charlton Athletic. And one football fanatic is now accused of trying to punch Kayla during the melee, Scotland Yard announced Friday.

The 34-year-old fan has been arrested on charges of attempted criminal damage and suspicion of violent disorder. Six other men, aged 16 to 48, were picked up earlier in the week in raids across London and Kent linked to the disturbance.


“Violence amongst supporters has no place in football; be it before, during or after a match,” Detective Sergeant Andy Collin from Croydon Police said in a statement. “These arrests show that anyone who chooses to engage in violence, will be pursued by officers and arrested.”

Kayla has been the team’s mascot since 2010 from her home at the Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation in Eynsford, Kent. But that’s not where she began life.


She hatched with a sister in Canada, but both were scooped up from the wild. Officials found them, tried to release them to the wild, but unable to hunt, they couldn’t make it on their own. They ended up a rehabilitation centre, then the Ontario Veterinary College to held student, before they become too aggressive for the university to manage.

The ball started rolling to move them to Eagle Heights, but during the paperwork process, Kayla’s sister was euthanized. Kayla, however, made it across the ocean.

“Despite her troubled beginning,” the foundation notes. “Kayla has really found her wings at Eagle Heights. She has been fortunate to find a forever home here and all that lay eyes on her simply fall in love with her grace!”

She’s even on the cover of a Kings of Leon album.

h/t BBC Photos Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation/Facebook

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