If you've been to the Utica Zoo, you've probably met Merlin. He's the beautiful white peacock that loves to roam the grounds.

Sadly, on Wednesday June 19th, Merlin flew into the African Lion habitat where he was captured and killed. "Thanks to the staff’s rapid response, the Lions were recalled into their inner holding to prevent potential aggressive behavior towards each other," the Utica Zoo shared on Facebook.

Visitors, staff, and the general public were never in harm’s way. "All of the events took place within the inner habitat perimeter fence."

Merlin arrived at the Utica Zoo in 2006 as an adult male and spent his days roaming the grounds of the Zoo. "He was regularly seen window shopping in front of the Gift Shop, relaxing in bamboo gardens, or calling out to his companions from high within the treetops. Merlin would also regularly join Keeper staff in the Eagle View Pavilion at lunchtime. He was a visitor favorite; displaying his pure white plumage for all to see. His distinct white feathers could be seen around the Zoo, providing an unexpected souvenir for visitors."

Visitors to the zoo shared their memories of the beloved peacock on Facebook. "Merlin was our first guest to show up at our wedding at the zoo in 2015," Katie wrote.

Photo Credit - Katie Katie

"My daughter loved Merlin. We recently had a birthday party at the zoo and he hung out with our party the whole time," shared Casey Freed.

"We have one of your feathers a Zoo employee gave to our granddaughter Alaina on a Zoo visit 2 years ago. It stays protected in our guest bedroom for when she has a sleepsover," wrote Doreen Abell.

"My kids made it their personal seek and find every time we would go to the zoo to try and track him down," Cassie Bracket said.

"Merlin will be dearly missed by everyone at the Zoo."

Photo Credit - Utica Zoo