Five-month-old reindeer, Star, dies

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Star, the five-month-old reindeer kept as a pet in Downtown Anchorage, has died.

The animal was the fifth in a line of reindeer named Star, owned by Oro Stewart. The reindeer have been popular tourist and neighborhood attractions.

The reindeer arrived at Stewart's home in July as a 3-month-old and appeared to be thriving, said her main handler, Albert Whitehead. He saw Star on Friday morning, and another handler checked her Friday evening. She was fine both times, he said. Then, Saturday morning, a handler found her dead, Whitehead said.

Anchorage police were called. There were no signs of forced entry or physical trauma to Star, Whitehead said. Whatever killed her came on suddenly and caused her whole system to shut down, he said.

A necropsy was performed Saturday. Results are expected midweek.

Oro Stewart, along with her late husband, Ivan, has kept and shown reindeer since 1960.

It's too soon to say whether there will be a sixth Star, Whitehead said.

''This deer has been so popular and so sweet,'' he said.

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