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Staten Island Chuck Keeps Out of Mayor's Clutches and Predicts Early Spring

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 2, 2015 9:16am
 Staten Island Chuck was protected from the mayor this year as he didn't see his shadow and predicted an early spring.
Groundhog Day 2015
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WEST BRIGHTON — Staten Island Chuck predicted an early spring Monday, failing to see his shadow as he was kept in a Plexiglas box, safe from the grasp of New York City's mayor.

Instead of the usual ritual of the mayor picking up the groundhog, the furry forecaster was enclosed in a protective case at the Staten Island Zoo, lifted from his burrow by an elevator.

Last year,  the animal — which was later revealed to be a stand-in for Chuck named Charlotte — squirmed in Bill de Blasio's hands and fell a few feet to the ground.

Charlotte died a week later from internal injuries related to a fall, the New York Post reported.

In 2009, Chuck bit then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"The zoo has come up with a new progressive, exciting approach to groundhog diplomacy," de Blasio said Monday.

"This new approach will be safer for both species involved."

The furry prognosticator did not see his shadow this year, meaning an early spring is on its way.

At the ceremony, de Blasio joked that teams of experts, including "the National Institute of Groundhog Health" and NASA, weighed in on the new approach to protect the groundhog from any more mishaps.

"There will be no surprises," Staten Island Deputy Borough President Ed Burke said. "2015 will not be a leap year."

A spokesman for the Staten Island Zoo told DNAinfo New York last year that Charlotte showed no signs of trauma or pain during a medical examination after the fall. The spokesman blamed her death on injuries she got the week of the event, which were not related to the fall.