Flaco Remembered: Public Gathers to Honor Central Park Owl

Flaco, a Eurasian eagle-owl who escaped from the Central Park Zoo and became a local celebrity in New York City, passed away on February 23, 2024. Following his unfortunate demise, a public memorial service was held in Central Park to honor the beloved bird who had captured the hearts of many residents.

Flaco's story began in 2013 when he arrived at the zoo as a young owl. He resided there for over a decade until February 2023, when he escaped his enclosure due to vandalism. This sparked significant public attention, particularly because Flaco was not native to North America. While initial concerns arose about his ability to survive in the wild, Flaco surprised everyone by thriving in his new environment, even demonstrating impressive hunting skills by catching rats within a week of his escape.

Throughout his time living freely in Central Park, Flaco became a beloved figure, attracting photographers, birders, and fans who followed his movements on social media. His story resonated with many, offering a symbol of resilience and adaptation.

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Sadly, Flaco's journey came to an end on February 23, 2024, when he was found injured on the Upper West Side. He was believed to have collided with a building, sustaining fatal injuries. The news of his passing brought an outpouring of grief from his admirers.

The public memorial service served as a platform for fans to pay their respects to Flaco. Held near his favorite oak tree in Central Park, the event featured speeches, songs, and poems celebrating his life. Attendees also advocated for measures to prevent similar bird deaths from collisions with buildings and accidental ingestion of rat poison. Additionally, there were discussions about installing a statue of Flaco in Central Park as a lasting tribute to the unique owl who left an indelible mark on the city.

Flaco's story, though brief, serves as a reminder of the unexpected connections we can form with the natural world, even within the bustling environment of a city. His legacy lives on through the memories of those who were touched by his story and the ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of urban wildlife.

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