This Owl That Escaped From the Central Park Zoo Has Turned Into an NYC Celebrity — Here's Why

'Whoooo' opened the cage?

Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl that escaped from the Central Park Zoo earlier in the week, sits high in a tree branch in Central Park

Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

An owl that escaped a vandalized cage in New York City’s Central Park Zoo, is on the hunt, and fortunately thriving in the wild, according to updates from the zoo’s staff. 

Earlier this month, Flaco, a Eurasian Eagle Owl escaped its cage after vandals cut a hole through its steel mesh barrier. The owl was then spotted having a sightseeing tour of Manhattan with stops including New York’s 5th Avenue and various points around Central Park. 

“Our main concern has always been for the well-being of the eagle owl," the Central Park Zoo shared in a recent update. "Our observations indicate that he seems to be comfortable in the area of the park where he has been hunting, and we don’t want to do anything to encourage him to leave this site.”

Additionally, the zoo noted that they've seen "rapid improvement in his flight skills and ability to confidently maneuver around the park."

New York’s Central Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world, with grounds totaling over 840 acres. 

Birders watch Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl that escaped from the Central Park Zoo earlier in the week, as it continues to live free in Central Park

Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

The Zoo also reports that they observed Flaco successfully hunting, catching and consuming prey.

The Eurasian Eagle owl was first discovered missing on Thursday, February 2, at 8:30 p.m. from the zoo’s exhibit when staff found that the the protective steel mesh of it's cut open. The Zoo is reminding the public that the situation is the result of "a deliberate criminal act which jeopardizes the safety of the bird and is still under investigation by the NYPD.”

Sightings of Flaco have been popping up on social media, and the birdwatching community has been documenting Flaco’s moves through the park. One user dubbing Flaco as “Flaco the Fugitive” and using the hashtag #ZooEscapee.

Manhattan Bird Alert, a popular birding account on Twitter, has been sharing regular updates and photos of Flaco, including one from Valentine’s Day that described Flaco as having a “spirited hooting performance before flyout”

The Central Park Zoo opened its doors in 1861, making it one of the oldest zoos in the United States. The Zoo extends for seven acres throughout Central Park’s Southeast corner. 

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