ERIE (Erie News Now) – There’s an annual Thanksgiving tradition in which the President of the United States gives a pardon to one turkey, saving it from the holiday table. However, there’s a turkey at the Erie Zoo that doesn’t need any kind of pardon. He’s worry free and living the good life.
It’s Franklin, a turkey who’s been a resident at the zoo for the past four years. He’s not worried about being served at the Thanksgiving table. He’s a crowd favorite at the zoo especially around Thanksgiving. The zoo staff believes Franklin knows all about his popularity. They never would describe him as nervous or worried.
“I like to describe him as very sassy,” says Emily Smicker, Marketing and Events Coordinator. “He rules the roost. What Franklin wants to do, when he wants to do it, is when it happens.”
Maybe the main reason Franklin is so cocky and confident during Thanksgiving season is that he’s a Royal Palm Turkey. That breed of turkey is not usually raised for its meat. It’s an exhibition bird known for its beautiful color. So Franklin doesn’t have to spend any time fearing the chopping block. Instead, he simply entertains visitors to the Erie Zoo. Unlike many other zoo animals, he has his own place.
“Franklin is a spoiled boy. He has a beautiful big apartment. They will change up the roosting in there all the time. We try to use a lot of natural resources that would be comfortable for him and we try to change it up so it’s something new all the time,” says Smicker.
The zoo loves to celebrate holidays with the animals and Thanksgiving is Turkey Day. So, what’s in store for Franklin on his big day?
“He’ll get maybe a little extra playtime and maybe some special treats,” says Smicker. “We heard he’s a big walnut lover. Maybe some super worms in there. Something he doesn’t usually get on his daily meal plan.”