New York zoo ends attempt to recapture Flaco the eagle-owl in Central Park
For two weeks, an owl that escaped the Central Park Zoo has eluded capture as legions of fans worry about its ability to survive in New York City.
Would Flaco, a majestic Eurasian eagle-owl, go hungry because he had not developed an ability to hunt while in captivity? The answer was a resounding no- Flaco is feeding on park rats.
Zoo officials said they were suspending recovery operations but would keep a close eye on the owl.
‘We are going to continue monitoring Flaco and his activities and to be prepared to resume recovery efforts if he shows any sign of difficulty or distress,’ officials said.
The bird’s name in Spanish means ‘skinny’. In the early days of his escape he was not seen eating. But when he started coughing up fur and bones, it was proof he had been hunting.
Officials acknowledged that recovering Flaco was difficult, especially ‘since he has been very successful at hunting and consuming the abundant prey in the park’.
The Eurasian eagle-owl is one of the larger species, with a wingspan of up to 2m, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. They have large talons and distinctive ear tufts.
Zoo officials tried to lure Flaco with bait and recordings of eagle-owl calls. He showed interest but didn’t fall for the ruse.
The search was launched on 2 February after the discovery vandals had cut the bird’s enclosure. Flaco has not strayed far from the park. He flew to Fifth Avenue, where police tried to catch him, and visited the park skating rink.
‘Flaco has been doing well,’ said David Barrett, who runs the Twitter accounts Manhattan Bird Alert, Brooklyn Bird Alert and Bronx Bird Alert.
‘That’s amazing. He’s made a remarkable move from being a captive owl to being in the wild much faster than anyone would have expected. He’s catching prey on his own. He continues to fly better and better. He seems to be enjoying himself out there.’
Flaco was less than a year old when he came to the Central Park Zoo in 2010. Owls are mostly solitary and usually only interact with another animal during breeding season.
‘Is he going to be lonely out there?,’ said Barrett. ‘That’s a good question.’
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a www.theguardian.com feed.)
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