GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, NC – Wilma the Bald Eagle was humanely put to sleep this weekend after a battle with arthritis and declining health. Wilma had recently been showing signs of getting older and her bad arthritis was taking a physical toll on her body causing her to lie down frequently.

Wilma was at least 34 years old. She came to Grandfather Mountain in 1981 after sustaining a gunshot wound in the Western United States.

Of the animals currently at Grandfather Mountain, Wilma had called the Animal Habitats “home” the longest. Her habitat neighbor, Morely the Golden Eagle, came to Grandfather in 1984.

The Grandfather Mountain Habitat staff remembers Wilma as an independent and outspoken animal.

“Wilma wasn’t able to fly because of her injury,” said Animal Habitat Manager Christie Tipton. “She’s in a better place now where she’ll always be able to fly.”