By Joey Hart, Asst. Editorial Editor
Miami Redhawk mascot Swoop was put down late Wednesday afternoon after veterinarians determined his quality of life was severely hampered by a broken wing.
The bird, which had served as Miami’s mascot for nine years, broke his wing last week throwing out T-shirts at a hockey game. Once veterinarians determined that there was no hope for recovery, he was fed a mixture of bird seed and strychnine and passed away about twenty minutes later.
Sarah Plume, Swoop’s trainer and handler, said she was “deeply upset” to see him go.
“Everyone who came into contact with this majestic creature was saddened by his death,” Plume said. “It was a tough decision to put him down, but I know it was the right one.”
Swoop’s body will be donated to Miami’s Department of Biology, where his skeleton will be stripped of its flesh and used as a model for zoology students.
Plume said that this donation will help to alleviate the pain that has come with Swoop’s loss.
“I will at least be able to sleep at night knowing that the scientific knowledge gained from studying Swoop’s skeleton may help save other large, terrestrial mascot birds,” she said.
The bird, which was born in Oxford on September 15, 2007, spent his whole life helping to pump up crowds at Miami sporting events. In between games, he was kept in a large bird cage in the basement of Millett Hall.
Recently, the university had come under fire from Humans Against Mistreatment of Mascots, an animal rights group that specializes in monitoring the well-being of animal mascots on college campuses. In 2012, HAMM charged Miami with “careless handling” of Swoop.
“This bird should be set free, not cooped up at a school where the student body can’t be bothered to fill half of its football stadium at games,” the organization’s statement said at the time.
Plume, though, said she resented that accusation.
“Swoop was more than just a mascot and more than just a bird to me,” she said. “To me, he was a friend.”
Upon first inspection, the biologists working on Swoop’s remains have reported that his insides look “eerily similar” to those of a 20-year-old human male. In other news, junior sports management major Chris Glover is still missing.