A captive Eurasian Eagle-Owl called ‘Flaco’ was released from Central Park’s Zoo by an unidentified person after its exhibit on Thursday, February 2nd, 2023. 

A captive animal such as this Eurasian Eagle-owl is disoriented and unable to perform long flights.  In addition, he has possibly also lost his hunting instinct and is unable to feed himself after spending more than 10 years in captivity.

Police, Park Rangers, and Zoo managers are working together to bring Flaco back to Central Park’s Zoo. Two days later, the escaped Eurasian Eagle-owl is still in the trees in the vicinity of Central Park’s Zoo. The owl is attracting the attention of the press media.

Apart from the press media, Flaco is also attracting the attention of many photographers and birdwatchers that want to catch a glimpse of this Eurasian Owl, not naturally present in North America.

While outside, the escaped Eurasian Eagle-owl was also harassed by a resident Red-tailed hawk in Central Park.

Flaco was brought to Central Park’s Zoo in 2012 was he was an owlet and has remained there since then. Incredibly, Flaco quickly adapted to life in the wild, he was able to hunt rats, find suitable roosts, and evade CP zoo staff lures and traps to return him home. After two weeks of unsuccessful attempts, the CP Zoo staff announce on February 17th that they have stopped their efforts to capture the owl.

Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl, is now roaming free in Central Park.

Text and Photography by Hector Cordero. Last update: February 25, 2023.