UPI – An owl that escaped from the Central Park Zoo after his exhibit was vandalised has been on the loose ever since as park rangers and even police officers were mobilised to search for the bird of prey.
Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl, went missing from his exhibit around 8.30pm on Thursday after the stainless steel mesh of the enclosure was cut, the Central Park Zoo said in a statement on Friday.
“A team was mobilised to search for the bird. Citizens and police spotted the owl on the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue but it flew off,” zoo officials said.
The office of New York City Mayor Eric Adams shared a photo of officers with the New York Police Department (NYPD) standing guard at an area of the sidewalk cordoned of with police tape as Flaco looked at bystanders.
“Well, that was a hoot. We tried to help this lil wise guy, but he had enough of his growing audience and flew off,” the NYPD’s 19th Precinct said in a post on Twitter.
“Rangers, be on the lookout – he was last seen flying south on Fifth Avenue.”
Zoo staff later located the owl perched in a tree near the zoo and stayed with it throughout the night, the Central Park Zoo said in its statement on Friday.
“At sunrise this morning, the owl flew from the tree on 5th Avenue and into Central Park where we continue to have visual contact with the bird,” the statement reads.
“Our focus and effort at this time is on the safe recovery of the owl.”Rangers with the New York City (NYC) Department of Parks & Recreation shared a photo of Flaco perched in a tree in Hallett Sanctuary, a nature preserve at the southeast corner of Central Park, on Friday morning.
“We ask that parkgoers give space so that he can be rescued,” NYC Parks said in the statement.
Flaco first arrived at the Central Park Zoo in 2010 and is one of the largest species of owl.
Birdwatchers across the Big Apple have since tried to snag photos of the escaped owl, many of which have been shared by the account Manhattan Bird Alert.