Courage Is Dead

President Obama pardons his first turkey, Courage, in a ceremony in 2009 (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A turkey named Courage, an animal deemed worthy of continuing its life by President Obama in a bizarre White House ritual, is reportedly dead. The bird was pardoned in 2009 during the strange Thanksgiving event that US presidents hold to show that they’re more powerful than birds. Or something.

Courage was the first turkey to be pardoned by Obama after he took office in January of 2009. Obama would go on to pardon many other birds, but Courage was his first. You always remember your first turkey pardon. Tomorrow Obama will reportedly pardon two birds named Tater and Tot.


NPR’s Domenico Montanaro reports that Courage was sent to Disneyland to live out the rest of its life. It’s unclear when Courage died exactly, though the average lifespan of a turkey is about three years. Since 2005 pardoned turkeys have been invited to live at Disneyland at the park’s Big Thunder Ranch, and sometimes sent to Walt Disney World in Florida.

Relatives of Courage could not be contacted by press time to confirm the cause of death.

Thanks Obama. And RIP Courage.

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Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog