- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Bill de Blasio is declining to discuss the groundhog that died a week after slipping from his grasp.

The Staten Island Zoo confirmed last week that the rodent died seven days after this year’s Groundhog Day ceremony.

Staten Island Chuck fell several feet from de Blasio’s hands. The zoo said there is no evidence the fall led to the animal’s death.

The zoo said Chuck was actually a stand-in named Charlotte. It also said it may change the proceedings next year so the mayor won’t hold the groundhog.

De Blasio on Monday deferred all questions about the groundhog to the zoo, including one on how he felt upon learning of Charlotte’s death.

A zoo spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment about the mayor’s feelings.

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