Turkey that had online fans but real-life haters is killed

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SOMERVILLE, Mass. — A wild turkey that had developed an online fan following but also drew complaints about aggressive behaviour was euthanized last week, Massachusetts wildlife officials said.

The turkey had become a fixture in a Somerville neighbourhood , know by some adorers as “Pat Cluck” or “Mayor Turkatone," The Boston Globe reported.

An Instagram account created for the turkey described it as “a classic wild turkey who enjoys kindness, not being honked at, and bringing joy to humans.” The account attracted more than 1,700 followers since its first post in July.

But the bird also had a long history of aggressive behaviour , said David Scarpitti, a wildlife biologist and turkey expert with the state’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

The turkey was known to attack patients and workers at a nearby medical facility, Scarpitti said. Wildlife officials had urged local residents to stop feeding the bird, which can encourage aggressive behaviour , he said.

But neighbours kept feeding the turkey and the behaviour continued, leading to the decision to capture and euthanize it, Scarpitti said. He called it unfortunate but blamed those who kept feeding the turkey.

Fans took to social media to mourn news of the bird's death, and some in the neighbourhood offered tribute by gobbling from their front steps Sunday evening.

Wild turkeys had once been wiped out of New England but have seen a resurgence in recent years.

The Associated Press