Zelda, the wild turkey of Battery Park, is dead: report

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BATTERY PARK (PIX11) -- Zelda, the resident turkey of Battery Park, is dead, The Battery Conservancy announced Wednesday.

Zelda made her first appearance in the park on May 5, 2003 and has become a popular presence since. The turkey has a history of taking off, but park workers became worried when she was not seen since September, at the same time a wild turkey was reportedly killed by a car along South Street near Pier 11.

A UPS worker and custodian told interns Sept. 26 about the dead turkey who they saw being cleaned up by sanitation workers, Nicole Brownstein, a spokeswoman for the Battery Conservancy, told the New York Times Wednesday.

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The park did not immediately announce Zelda's death because it was not confirmed. Instead, they waited to see if she would return. After weeks of remaining missing, they moved forward with the announcement that Zelda was fatally hit by a car.

The beloved turkey made her last appearances at a board meeting Sept. 16 and the following day at the 11th annual Battery Gardeners Luncheon.

In the summer of 2013, Susan Conheim, who was always on the lookout for Zelda, walked around Battery Park with PIX11's Greg Mocker in hopes of finding the turkey. They were unsuccessful, but Zelda later returned from an apparent trip elsewhere.

"The Battery Conservancy staff is deeply saddened to announce that Zelda, our beloved turkey, has recently passed away," the park said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

"The memory of Zelda's days in The Battery and the fact that she had an unusually long life leaves us with a legacy of encouragement, a dedication to continuing to nurture these 25 aces of historic landscape and to forge ahead to compete the Park's improvements," the park said in a statement.