Flaco, the Owl That Escaped Central Park Zoo, Has Died

Andrew Lichtenstein
Andrew Lichtenstein

Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl who escaped from the Central Park Zoo in Feb. 2023 and fascinated New Yorkers as he flew around Manhattan, died Friday night, officials said.

They said in a statement that Flaco, who has been flying free for a year, since vandals cut through the steel mesh of his habitat and freed him, struck a building on West 89th Street and did not survive.

Building residents called the Wild Bird Fund, who declared the bird dead after arriving on the scene. Flaco was set to turn 14 next month.

“The vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit jeopardized the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death,” the Wildlife Conservation Society said in its statement. “We are still hopeful that the N.Y.P.D., which is investigating the vandalism, will ultimately make an arrest.”

Flaco was taken to the Bronx Zoo for a necropsy. His death prompted an outpouring of grief on social media Friday night.

Flaco had come to the zoo as a fledgling 13 years ago.

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