Feb. 12,  2023, New York – The following statement was issued by the Central Park Zoo:

“Our Eurasian eagle owl, Flaco, went missing after his exhibit at the Central Park Zoo was vandalized on the evening of February 2nd. Since that first night, our staff has intensely monitored the eagle owl each day and evening to document and observe his behavior and activity in Central Park. Several days ago, we observed him successfully hunting, catching and consuming prey. We have seen a rapid improvement in his flight skills and ability to confidently maneuver around the park. A major concern for everyone at the beginning was whether Flaco would be able to hunt and eat; that is no longer a concern.

“Since our recovery strategies thus far have all been based on luring him to familiar food items, we need to rethink our approach. Our main concern has always been for the well-being of the eagle owl. 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. We are also aware that he faces potential challenges in this environment on a daily basis. We will continue to monitor him, though not as intensely, and look to opportunistically recover him when the situation is right.

“Birders have been out in force and there are a lot of eyes on Flaco. We are confident that we will be able to track his movements as he continues to explore and expand his range. We thank everyone who is pulling for the eagle owl’s safe recovery and understand the importance of good birding etiquette while observing and photographing him.

“It is important to remember that this situation is the result of a deliberate criminal act which jeopardizes the safety of the bird and is still under investigation by the NYPD.”