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Flaco, the escaped Central Park Zoo owl, died in an apparent collision with building

Flaco described as “the most renowned bird in the world.”



The Central Park Zoo announced with sadness that Flaco, the rare Eurasian owl known as “the most famous owl in the world,” has passed away following an apparent collision with a building.

Flaco, who gained attention from New York City residents, was discovered missing from the Central Park Zoo over a year ago after his exhibit was vandalized.

The zoo stated in a Friday statement that Flaco died after colliding with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan.

The zoo reported that individuals in the building notified the Wild Bird Fund (WBF) about Flaco. WBF staff promptly arrived on the scene, but unfortunately, Flaco showed no signs of responsiveness and was pronounced dead shortly after.

The statement further emphasized that the vandal who vandalized Flaco’s exhibit endangered the bird’s safety and is ultimately accountable for his demise. The zoo expressed hope that the NYPD, currently investigating the vandalism, will eventually make an arrest.

Flaco transitioned from a relatively unknown bird to a widely recognized figure after his disappearance on February 2, 2023, from his modest enclosure in Central Park. He had resided there since 2010, arriving in the city as a young bird from a bird sanctuary in North Carolina.

For the first 12 years of his life, he had been born and raised in captivity. Flaco was set free from captivity by vandals in Central Park, according to police. Despite extensive efforts to locate him, Flaco managed to elude capture for a full year and gained a devoted following during this time.

Flaco quickly became the center of attention on one of Manhattan’s most prestigious shopping avenues, Fifth Avenue, where he alighted on the sidewalk near the Bergdorf Goodman department store. His presence drew a crowd as well as the attention of the NYPD.

Officers cordoned off the area with yellow crime scene tape and placed an open cage nearby, presumably in case Flaco decided to surrender. However, before they could make an attempt to capture him, the speckled bird took flight and perched in a tree in front of the Plaza Hotel. “He’s definitely my most photographed bird of 2023,” remarked David Barrett, the founder and manager of Manhattan Bird Alert, who encountered Flaco.

He described Flaco as “the most renowned bird in the world.”

Flaco continued to attract crowds, surprising many with his survival skills after escaping his enclosure. Zoo officials reported last year that Flaco’s ability to thrive outside the enclosure astounded those who doubted his chances.

“Several days ago, we observed him successfully hunting, catching, and consuming prey. We have witnessed a significant improvement in his flying abilities and his confidence in navigating the park,” the officials stated.

February 2 marked one year since the apex predator slipped through an opening cut by vandals in the stainless steel mesh of his enclosure at the Central Park Zoo and ventured into the urban wilderness of America’s largest city, testing the limits of his six-foot wingspan for the first time.