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Search for San Diego Zoo stork is ended; bird feared dead

The search for a painted stork that flew away from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is finished, zoo officials announced Friday.

The year-old bird, from a species native to Asia, was out flying June 17, and instead of returning, it flew away, maybe carried away by a thermal wind, officials said.

The stork was in training to be part of a free-flight bird program at the park.

In a statement, zoo officials thanked "the many people who have called, e-mailed and invited us to their neighborhoods to look for the bird. It has been more than a week since the bird, who was young and inexperienced, was seen.

"We regret that after this much time it is unlikely that the bird has survived.... We know you all share our sorrow at this loss."

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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