Flaco is a Eurasian eagle owl, one of the larger owl species, with a wingspan of up to two meters. They have large claws and prominent ear tufts.
Vandals cut a hole in the steel fence at the Central Park Zoo on Feb. 2, after which Flaco (“thin” in Spanish) disappeared. Zoo workers tried to lure the bird with bait and recorded eagle owl calls. He did not fall for it and chose freedom.
The owl was seen in many places in and around Central Park, including the Fifth Avenue shopping street. He also visited an ice rink. There are many reports on Twitter from people who saw him. The hashtag #freeflaco has taken on a life of its own. There is also a petition calling for the beast not to be caught.
David Barrett has started a Twitter account in which he shares many photos and updates of the bird.
The zoo was afraid he wouldn’t survive, but the opposite seems to be the case. Flaco has not lost his killer instinct during his imprisonment. It regularly dives down and then flies back into the trees with prey in its claws.
“Flaco is doing well in Central Park. And that’s great. He’s made a remarkable step from captive owl to life in the wild much faster than anyone expected,” said David Barrett
His caretakers have decided to suspend efforts to catch the owl for the time being. They do say they will keep a close eye on his health.
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