Legacy of Flaco, Escaped Zoo Owl, to Live at Museum in His Neighborhood

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The legacy of Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl whose escape from the Central Park Zoo and year on the loose enthralled New York City before his death in February, will live on in physical form near where he spent most of his life, zoo officials said on Tuesday.

Flaco’s wings and tissue samples have been transferred to the American Museum of Natural History, where they will become part of its scientific collections, according to a statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Central Park Zoo.

The collections are “used extensively by scientists and also by artists who develop images for educational materials, including birding field guides,” the society said in the statement, which noted that the remains would not be on public view.

A spokeswoman for the museum declined further comment.

Flaco’s tissue samples will be kept in the museum’s frozen tissue specimen collection, the society said. The rest of Flaco’s remains have been archived at the Bronx Zoo’s Wildlife Health Center.

The society’s announcement came about two months after officials announced that a necropsy had determined there was enough rat poison and pigeon virus in Flaco’s system to kill him even if he had not died after apparently striking an Upper West Side building.

The necropsy findings, by Bronx Zoo pathologists, validated widespread concerns about the hazards that Flaco, who would have turned 14 in March, faced living as a free bird in Manhattan for just over a year.