New York's Staten Island Zoo attempted to cover up news that the groundhog accidentally dropped by Mayor Bill de Blasio during the Groundhog Day celebration died from internal injuries a week after the fall, The New York Post reported.
Sources told the paper that the groundhog was a female replacement named "Charlotte." She died from internal injuries a week after the fall, the source said.
The paper reported Thursday that the zoo pulls in $3.5 million a year from the city. The staff was reportedly told by the zoo to avoid telling the mayor's office. The zoo went with the story that the animal died from natural causes.
One local assemblyman told the paper, "I was told he died of old age, that he went to the big farm in the sky."
The groundhog that normally takes part in the festivities, Chuck, was benched this year because he once bit the city's previous mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
The zoo maintains that it is "unlikely" that the animal died due to the injuries sustained in the fall, and was examined shortly after the event.
The mayor's office said it is "sorry to hear of the loss."