Flaco The Escaped Zoo Owl Can Stay In The Wilds Of NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — For 2 weeks, an owl who escaped from New York’s Central Park Zoo has flown from treetop to treetop, eluding seize and amassing legions of followers apprehensive about his potential to outlive alone within the large metropolis.

Would Flaco, an impressive Eurasian eagle-owl, go hungry as a result of he hadn’t developed a capability to hunt whereas in captivity?

With a collective sigh of reduction, the reply was a powerful no: It seems Flaco has regained his killer instincts and is changing into an previous hand at swooping down from his lofty perch to feed on the park’s bounty of rats.

Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl who escaped from the Central Park Zoo, continues to roost and hunt in Central Park, February 15, 2023 in New York Metropolis, New York.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis by way of Getty Pictures

Consequently, Zoo officers introduced that they have been suspending restoration operations, not less than for now, however will preserve an in depth eye on the owl’s well being.

“We’re going to proceed monitoring Flaco and his actions and to be ready to renew restoration efforts if he exhibits any signal of problem or misery,” Zoo officers mentioned in an announcement.

The fowl’s title in Spanish means “skinny,” and it appeared he was in peril of dwelling as much as his title within the early days of his escape as a result of he hadn’t been seen consuming. However when he began coughing up fur and bones, it sparked pleasure — proof that he had been searching and consuming.

Officers acknowledged that recovering Flaco had confirmed tough, particularly “since he has been very profitable at searching and consuming the plentiful prey within the park.”

The Eurasian eagle-owl is without doubt one of the bigger owl species, with a wingspan of as much as 79 inches (2 meters), in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Society. They’ve massive talons and distinctive ear tufts.

Flaco seems down on Central Park from a tree on Feb. 15

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis by way of Getty Pictures

Regardless of proof that Flaco had been eating on rodents, the duty of capturing him went on.

Most lately, zoo officers tried to lure Flaco with bait and recordings of eagle-owl calls. He confirmed some curiosity however didn’t fall for the ruse.

The seek for Flaco was launched Feb. 2 after the invention that vandals had lower stainless-steel meshing on the fowl’s enclosure.

Flaco has made his rounds of higher Manhattan however hasn’t strayed too removed from the park. He flew to the close by procuring hub of Fifth Avenue, the place cops tried to catch him and failed. He captivated audiences wherever he went, together with a go to to the park’s skating rink. Twitter has been aflutter with sightings, and the hashtag #freeflaco, in addition to an internet petition to maintain him free, quickly took flight.

“Flaco has been doing effectively in Central Park. And that’s wonderful. He’s made a exceptional transfer from being a captive owl to being within the wild a lot quicker than anybody would have anticipated,” mentioned David Barrett, who runs the birding Twitter accounts Manhattan Fowl Alert, Brooklyn Fowl Alert and Bronx Fowl Alert.

“He’s catching prey on his personal. He continues to fly higher and higher,” he mentioned. “He appears to be having fun with himself on the market.”

Eurasian eagle-owl’s aren’t native to North America, so Flaco must fly throughout the ocean to search out his personal variety within the wild. He was lower than a 12 months previous when he made his dwelling on the Central Park Zoo in 2010.

Owls are largely solitary animals and often solely work together with one other animal throughout breeding season.

“Is he going to be lonely on the market? That’s a very good query,” mentioned Barrett.