Zoo Favorite and Resident Groundhog, Gordy, Euthanized

Posted Date

March 9, 2023


Animal Updates, In The News

The Milwaukee County Zoo is sad to announce that its beloved groundhog, Gordy, was humanely euthanized March 3.

A few days prior, the animal care team noted Gordy eating less than usual and acting lethargic. After continually monitoring him, Gordy still hadn’t improved the following day, and he underwent a complete medical exam at the Zoo’s Animal Health Center.

Gordy was found to have fluid in his chest, surrounding his lungs, although his breathing appeared normal. After examining its’ cells, it was determined that the fluid in his chest was blood, which may mean a cancerous mass has ruptured. The team removed some of the fluid to try to make him more comfortable and see if he improved.

Gordy and his pumpkin enrichment

The next day, Gordy unfortunately declined, and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize him. A complete necropsy (animal autopsy) will be performed.

Gordy was an educational animal ambassador and most recently participated in the Zoo’s popular Groundhog Day ceremony on Feb. 2. He would have turned 5 years old on April 6.

Gordy was hand-fed when he first arrived at MCZ.

Gordy was born in Indiana and hand-raised, arriving at MCZ around 6 weeks old. He was a favorite animal among Zoo staff and visitors. Zookeepers share that Gordy had a “goofy and friendly personality,” and one of his favorite activities was to shred paper bags and newspapers to make a nest. Gordy resided in the Stackner Animal Encounter building in the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm, and he was known to wander and explore the building freely while staff cleaned his habitat and prepped his diet — even occasionally getting into mischief. He enjoyed bananas and raw broccoli, receiving peanuts as a high reward during training.

All animal losses are difficult for Zoo staff who care for them; however, this is a significant loss for the Farm’s animal care team, as they worked very closely with Gordy from the time he first arrived. Zookeeper interaction with Gordy and diligent training helped him become comfortable with people and eventually content enough to participate in the Zoo’s Groundhog Day ceremony.

We are grateful for our time with Gordy the groundhog. His absence is felt, and he will be deeply missed.