It's been an emotional time for employees at the Zoo of Acadiana, especially those who take care of the birds that were stolen. Lea Loftin shot video of Kiwi, a 10-year-old caique, a type of parrot, who is a star attraction at the zoo.
"We love you," she tells Kiwi on video, as she gently holds him. "Everybody's pulling for you, yeah. Doc's gonna come soon."
Loftin shot the video before Kiwi was rushed off to veterinarians at LSU.
Kiwi, according to zoo officials, died Wednesday night. Officials said veterinarians did all that they could to save the bird.
"After I saw his condition, I actually kind of thought it might be the last video I get of Kiwi," Loftin said, her voice cracking. "We're very close to these animals here. Kiwi was used as an educational bird, that's why he was not out on display."
The man who took Kiwi and two other birds had opened all but one cage in a holding area for birds in an area not open to zoo visitors. Zoo owner George Oldenburg said it was still dark, early in the morning, when he saw the intruder and called 911.
"I told the dispatcher with 911, I said he's heading out the back of the zoo. You'll probably meet him right at the back. When they turned their lights on, he took off at a very high rate of speed," Oldenburg said.
While they believe one bird perished in the crash and another flew off, Oldenburg said Kiwi emerged from the wreckage.
"Crawled out of a burning vehicle with one foot. So, it's pretty pitiful, but the police got it and picked it up, put it in the back seat of the unit," said Oldenburg.
Zoo officials said that Kiwi was just as sweet and gentle as cockatoo, Jack, who luckily was one of the birds not taken.
"Kiwi, one of our favorites, would do tricks. We'd bring him to nursing homes, school kids, we have a show. He was the star of the show, could do tricks, whistle, talk," said Oldenburg.
Oldenburg and Loftin expresssorrow that a man died in the incident and said they offer their sympathy to his family.