RIP: Harold the “charismatic wanderer” peacock dies at Auckland Zoo after illness

For almost 20 years, Harold worked the grounds of the Auckland Zoo like he owned them.

The geriatric free-range peacock would visit other animals and charm visitors and zookeepers alike.

“Our keepers say Harold was a ‘charismatic wanderer, a real Houdini at times, and an adventurer whose bravery knew no bounds,'” the zoo said in announcing Harold’s death March 8.

Harold developed a severe crop infection a few weeks ago, which got worse last week. The crop is a muscular pouch located in a bird’s neck above the top of the chest or sternum. The zoo said it had no choice but to euthanize the peacock.

“We thank you for being so irrepressibly colourful in every possible way,” the zoo said in a statement. “You will be fondly remembered and missed by us all.”

Harold was a colourful figure. Photo: Auckland Zoo

Harold didn’t see size.

Last spring he visited the rhinos during lockdown and held his own.

Zookeepers also fondly remembered Harold’s musical “honk” and “provocative” tail shimmy.

Harold wandered the grounds freely. Photo: Auckland Zoo

“Harold would mysteriously travel across the Zoo, frequenting every animal keeper kitchen for a smorgasbord of treats,” one zookeeper recalled.

Harold also knew when the zoo’s weekly supply of insects would land and attempt to sneak a look inside the box.

Our majestic geriatric free-range peacock Harold, who was being treated at our Vet Hospital for a severe crop infection,…

Posted by Auckland Zoo on Monday, March 8, 2021

Harold couldn’t cast a spell over everyone, however.

Only the female guinea fowl were seemingly immune Harold’s charm, zookeepers joked.

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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