Air Force's live mascot, a 22-year-old white gyrfalcon, suffered potentially life-threatening injuries due to a prank leading up to the Falcons' rivalry matchup against Army this week.
The academy said Sunday in a statement that an apology was given to the Air Force Academy and that an investigation is underway.
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The bird was still receiving antibiotics and will continue to be evaluated, but the development was considered a good sign in the recovery, the report said.
The bird is now being flown back to Air Force on the team's charter flight following its 17-14 loss at Army.
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Officials at West Point apologized and vowed to investigate, ESPN reported. They likely held the bird for a few hours and "realized it was a bad mistake". "We are taking this situation very seriously, and this occurrence does not reflect the Army or (United States Military Academy) core values of dignity and respect", it said. On the school's falconry page, the bird is described as a white phase gyrfalcon, which is a "falcon species that is extremely rare in the wild and whose beauty will take your breath away".
"USAFA mascot Aurora was injured over the weekend and is being transported back to Colorado", academy spokesman Lt Col Tracy Bunko told the Gazette.
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According to the Teton Raptor Center, gyrfalcons can live up to 25 years in captivity.