Lima's dead body found Sunday evening, under the tree on Cedar Hill where she slept on the night before.|
It is not a picture that I want you to see first thing as you visit here, but this is what I found and if you enjoy sharing their happier times with me each day, then this is the reality I must also share with you.
On Saturday afternoon I saw Lima when Palemale flew into Cedar Hill to mate with her. Palemale flew off but Lima stayed in the tree for several hours after. Palemale mated with her on three subsequent occasions. Lima never left the tree all day, I didn’t find this alarming but it was unusual. Palemale also brought her some food which he stashed in a nearby tree on Cedar Hill. He appeared to call her to get it but she never left the tree for any reason. During her stay on the tree I noticed that she stretched and at one point coughed up a pellet (which I later recovered).
Lima's pellet from Saturday afternoon. Most likely a rat was the last thing she ate.|
Apart from my noting that she was not leaving the tree, I never suspected that there was anything wrong with her.
I stayed with Palemale & Lima on Saturday and watched both of them go to sleep. The last shot I took of Lima was at 6:06 PM.
On Sunday morning I found Palemale flying near his nest as soon as I entered the park, and very soon after he was in company with another hawk which I never hesitated to believe was Lima. There were no remarkable differences in the hawk I saw accompanying Palemale on Sunday morning but I didn‘t get a chance to see her up close.
Throughout the day Palemale was seen in company with his companion on the Carlyle hotel, on the 930 Fifth Avenue, on the 965 Fifth Avenue Building and other Fifth Avenue Buildings. She perched on many of Lima’s customary spots. The only thing I did find noteworthy was that there was no mating at anytime during the day.
I found this very strange because they were supposed to be at the peak of their mating and it would normally be occurring almost every hour. There was no mating at all on Sunday.
Late in the evening a young foreign couple was at the Model Sailboat Pond inquiring where they could find a Park Ranger because they found a dead hawk on the East Side at approximately 78th Street. I overheard them and offered to go with them to see what they were talking about. They led me to the horrible site and I knew right away that it was the body of Lima. She lay on her belly with her head pointing south-west. There were no visible signs of violence and her body was very stiff and cold.
I believe that I am mature enough to accept death, and I have accepted the fact that no living creature is immortal. However today when I came upon this tragedy I was flooded by an uneasiness which is separate from the painful feeling of grief. I did not just feel uneasy but had also a sense of despair for not knowing a trustworthy authority to call in this situation.
I did not have an explanation for what I was seeing before me and with the present state of our authorities an explanation is not something that any government department is obliged to give. This was a wild animal which had died and there was no obligation by any city or state agency to provide any answers especially to me.
But the death of an animal like this must have some accountability. This was not some ordinary bird, some random animal, some wild creature, some un-named thing--this was my friend and more so she was my most important family--my family by choice.
If things were as they should be, after finding her I would be able to call the authorities and I should have the confidence and trust that they will come over and pick her up and do the right thing with her body.
It is important to find out what happened to Lima. We need to know if she was a victim of toxic substances in her food.
There is a known scheme by the Central Park Conservancy to hide any evidence of accidental death to non-target wildlife in Central Park caused by pesticides used in the park.
Presently I do not trust many people in authority. This mistrust is not unwarranted, but rather comes from solid experience.
I will do what I can to see that the cause of her premature death be known so that we will not have to continue having tragedies like this.
I obtained authorization by the NYS DEC to take possession of Lima so I can get her to a pathology lab to have a necropsy and all the necessary toxicology tests done to discover the cause of her death.
Just before Palemale went to sleep he flew over the south end of Cedar Hill and made a series of loud calls. I can never assume that I know what those calls were for, but I took Lima’s body over to a large rock under where he flew and set her down in clear view and walked away so he could see her for one last time.|
I know now that Palemale had discovered Lima's death on Sunday morning and by the time I arrived in the park just after noon he had already attracted this new mate.|
Friday March 2:
I am hoping that by now Lima's body has arrived at the Pathology Lab.
Wednesday February 29:
I have no reports that Lima's body made it to the Wildlife Pathology Lab.
Monday February 27:
Lima’s body is in the hands of DEC officer Brent Wilson.
Officer Wilson promised me that Lima's body will be kept in the condition described to him by Joe Okeniewski of the DEC Lab. He made this promise to me and I had him also make it to James Barron of the NY Times. He said that he will drive it up today (Tuesday) and deliver it to the DEC Pathology Unit in Delmar, NY.
The Pathology Unit assured me that a full necropsy will be performed and toxicology tests carried out to determine whether there is any anti-coagulants or other lethal substances in Lima's body.