There was a big media hullabaloo back in February after NYC mayor Bill de Blasio dropped the Staten Island Zoo’s famous groundhog during a Groundhog Day ceremony, but new information is showing that that wasn’t the end of the story. After falling from the mayor’s arms at the event, the furry friend was found lifeless just a few days later – apparently from sustaining internal injuries consistent with the nearly six-foot fall. The zoo was able to keep the death – and another shocking secret about the beloved critter – out of the public eye until recently.

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On February 2nd, Mayor de Blasio posed for a photo op with “Chuck,” who was later revealed to actually be a female named “Charlotte.” After photos were taken, the squirmy groundhog began to wriggle out of de Blasio’s arms, eventually falling to the hard ground. Zoo officials told the public that the groundhog was fine, and that nothing was wrong.

Related: Staten Island Chuck Disagrees With Punxsutawney Phil, Says Spring is On the Way

But recent reports show that little Charlotte was found lifeless in her enclosure just five days later. Zoo officials kept Charlotte’s death quiet, only notifying a few zoo supporters that she died of old age. But a necropsy revealed the little critter’s injuries were consistent with a major fall, and that her cause of death was internal bleeding.

According to the Post, the mayor’s office itself was also in the dark about not only Charlotte’s death, but also of the zoo’s last minute swap of Chuck for Charlotte before the Groundhog Day ceremony.

Via NY Post

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