Zoo owl dies in New York City after being released by vandals

 February 25, 2024

Residents of America's biggest city were left heartbroken late last week following the death of Flaco, an iconic local bird.

According to The Guardian, Flaco's untimely demise came after vandals damaged his home at the Central Park Zoo.

Eurasian eagle owl flew into a building

Flaco passed away on Friday when he struck the side of a building on West 89th Street, leading bystanders to Wild Bird Fund (WBF).

WBF staff subsequently found the Eurasian eagle owl to be unresponsive and quickly pronounced him dead. His remains were subsequently taken to Bronx Zoo for a necropsy.

Flaco had been loose in New York for months after his zoo enclosure was targeted for vandalism, which resulted in his escape.

The Central Park Zoo quickly issued a statement which read, "The vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit jeopardized the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death."

Police continue to investigate targeting of Flaco's home

The zoo said it remains "hopeful that the NYPD, which is investigating the vandalism, will ultimately make an arrest."

The zoo noted how "Flaco frequently had been seen in and near Central Park and other locations across Manhattan since February 2, 2023."

The statement further explained that zoo staff worked to monitor his movements and sought to recover him in the event that he became injured.

"We appreciate all the support and concern over the well-being of Flaco throughout the past year and the many people who contacted us with updates," the statement said as it drew to a close.

"We especially appreciate the quick response by the staff of the Wild Bird Fund in their attempt to help Flaco," it concluded.

Tributes to Flaco appear on social media

New Yorkers quickly took to social media and began posting tributes to the owl, with one person writing, "I wanted to add this photo which is the last one I took of Flaco in November."

"I’m heartbroken that he’s no longer around for everyone to see and hear him but I am grateful that after 13 years of confinement in that cage, he spent his last year flying free. Fly on, glorious bird!" she added.

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