It’s now been nearly a month since Flaco the owl had been set free by vandals from his enclosure at the Central Park Zoo.
According to the New York Times, vandals had cut through the stainless steel mesh around the owl’s enclosure on the night of February 2nd. Upon zoo workers discovering Flaco’s absence, a major search rescue begun as temperatures continued to drop on the following night.
The Eurasian eagle-owl was later spotted above the Hallett Sanctuary, as NYC Parks warned those concerned that the Rangers had the situation under control.
After word got out of the animal’s escape, bird watchers gathered at the southeast corner of the park to get a look at Flaco. Twitter was flooded with consistent updates of the owl’s whereabouts throughout the weekend.
Flaco was most recently seen in the North Woods of Central Park, perched on a tree. It’s the furthest he’s flown from the Central Park Zoo so far.
Apparently, Flaco the owl has been in captivity for 12 years. Due to the owl’s confinement, Flaco would not have had to learn how to hunt and survive in the wild, explained Twitter account, Manhattan Bird Alert.
And though Central Park Zoo announced in a previous statement that all “focus and effort at this time is on the safe recovery of the owl,” the zoo has decided to stop their efforts to recapture Flaco, after repeated strategies such as recorded mating calls and bait led to no luck.
“We are going to continue monitoring Flaco and his activities and to be prepared to resume recovery efforts if he shows any sign of difficulty or distress,” officials said.
Stakeholders were concerned the owl would lack necessary survival skills, however, the Eurasian eagle-owl has proven to be quite the hunter. Flaco has been caught feeding on mice and rat found in abundance on park grounds.
The identity of the zoo’s vandal is still unknown.