A prank gone horribly awry that at first appeared fatal has instead realized a happy ending.
Air Force traveled to Army this past weekend and, as is customary, the service academy’s two live mascots, 22-year-old Aurora and 15-year-old Oblio, were a part of the traveling party. The Friday before the game, two West Point cadets abducted both falcons, throwing sweaters over the birds and stuffing them into a dog crate according to the New York Times.
From the Times‘ report:
The cadets turned the birds in on Saturday morning, but not before Aurora suffered abrasions that bloodied her wings, likely when she was thrashing inside the crate…
“I think they had them for a couple hours and then they realized it was a bad mistake,” [Air Force Academy falconry team adviser Sam] Dollar said. “When Aurora started thrashing around in the crate, they decided that wasn’t a good thing.
While it was initially thought that Aurora might need to be euthanized because of her age — her type of falcon has a life expectancy of 25 — she has made continued improvement since the abduction as her injuries weren’t as severe as they were initially thought.
“It’s an extremely good sign that she’s flying, ” an Air Force official stated.
On its Facebook page, West Point officials apologized for the incident.
The U.S. Military Academy sincerely apologizes for an incident involving USMA cadets and the Air Force Academy falcons, which occurred Saturday. We are taking this situation very seriously, and this occurrence does not reflect the Army or USMA core values of dignity and respect.
“An apology was given to the U.S. Air Force Academy for this unfortunate incident.
The unidentified cadets are expected to face unspecified discipline from the service academy.