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NYTimes
New York Times
24 Feb 2024
Ed Shanahan


NextImg:Flaco, Escaped Central Park Zoo Owl and Defier of Doubts, Is Dead

Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl whose escape from the Central Park Zoo and subsequent life on the loose in Manhattan captured the public’s attention, died Friday night after apparently striking a building on the Upper West Side, officials said.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo, said in a statement that Flaco had been found on the ground after hitting a building on West 89th Street.

Building residents contacted the Wild Bird Fund, a rescue organization, whose staff members responded quickly, retrieved him and declared him dead a short time later, the society said.

Zoo employees took him to the Bronx Zoo, where a necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. He would have turned 14 next month.

Flaco’s life as a free bird began on the evening of Feb. 2, 2023, when someone shredded the mesh on the modest enclosure where he had lived nearly his entire life. The police said in January that no arrests had been made and that the investigation was continuing.

“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.”

This is a developing story. It will be updated.