Panic, not disease, killed Auburn raptors
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2004:
AUBURN, Alabama–A purported deadly outbreak of the avian
bacterial disease mycoplasma galliseptum in mid-2003 caused the
South-eastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Auburn University to
kill 17 rare birds after eight others died, halted the tradition of
a golden eagle named Tiger flying at Auburn home football games, and
led to the June 2003 firing of raptor center director Joe
Shelnutt–but there never were any actual cases of mycoplasma
galliseptum, Associated Press writer Kyle Wingfield revealed on
August 24, 2004.
Wingfield obtained a copy of a report on the incident by
University of Minnesota Raptor Center director Patrick Redig. The
report was shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Auburn
officials in January 2004 but was not previously made public.
“Instead of a microorganism, the report blames faulty
laboratory techniques and poor decision-making,” Wingfield disclosed.
Tiger is again going to football games, with two understudies.