April 21, 2021

The Editor speaks:Norman failed to conquer

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I was so sad to learn yesterday (11) that Norman, the red-footed booby bird rescued by wildlife volunteers in the UK, had died.

Norman was discovered on a southern English beach Sept. 4, 2016, some 5,000 miles from his nearest Caribbean habitat. It was first recorded sighting of the species in Britain.

Named Norman by his rescuers, the starving, dehydrated bird spent months under heat lamps as a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals wildlife center nursed him back to health.

The bird was flown back to the Cayman Islands following a 12-hour British Airways flight Thursday with a veterinary escort. The pilot, Capt. Shaun Griffiths, described Norman as “by far the most unusual” passenger he’s ever had.

Norman had been left at the Cayman Turtle Centre to recover from the ordeal of his long flight before being taken to Little Cayman.

CNS reported that Jane Haakonsson, a researcher with the the Department of Environment, told them that the bird never took to the Turtle Centre, “most likely due to the stress of the travel”.

The report went on to quote Haakonsson as saying, “If ‘Norman’ had, in fact, made it to Little Cayman, there would also have been a risk that he was unable to feed himself due to atrophy of his flight muscles for having been in captivity since September.”

I expect we will now hear from the Islands’ “experts” who will blame the Turtle Centre (formerly the Turtle Farm) for Norman’s death!

Norman conquered his flight from Little Cayman to England on his own steam but not his return.

I never met Norman but I feel so very, very sad about him. Wishing there had been more we could have done.

No one is to blame.

Let us thank everyone who helped and did their very best.

I will never forget you Norman.

I wish you could have had a story book happy ending.

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