In Memory of Flaco: New Yorkers Rally for Statue in Central Park to Honor Beloved Owl - The World News

In Memory of Flaco: New Yorkers Rally for Statue in Central Park to Honor Beloved Owl

The recent death of Flaco, a beloved Eurasian eagle owl, has sparked a movement among New Yorkers to erect a permanent statue in his honor in Central Park, according to a petition posted on February 24.

With over 3,500 signatures as of Monday, the petition calls for “a pedestal with a branch protruding and a life size Flaco statue” near where the bird was known to roost. The petitioners hope to memorialize Flaco, who captured the hearts of many during his year of freedom in Manhattan after escaping from his enclosure from the Central Park Zoo. 

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A double-helix swirl of red, blue, and white light is seen above a large building.

Flaco’s ability to thrive in the urban environment, despite being raised in captivity, resonated deeply with New Yorkers, symbolizing resilience and against-all-odds survival. The petition’s author, Mike Hubbard, a longtime resident of NYC, emphasized Flaco’s ability to inspire wonder and unity among people from diverse backgrounds. 

While the process of installing statues in Central Park is complex and lengthy, with few projects ultimately approved, New Yorkers have already begun creating impromptu artistic tributes to Flaco including photographs and drawing of the late-blooming hunter and, of course, the prerequisite flowers.

“Flaco’s swift adaptation to life in the wild inspired people all over the world,” David Barrett, who tweets as @BordCentralPark on his X page “Manhattan Bird Alert” told Hyperallergic. According to Barrett, Flaco “seemed to love being a free owl. “The time we last saw Flaco, he was hooting from the top of a 20-story building on the Upper West Side, looking and sounding at the peak of his powers,” Barrett said. “We will remember him at his best.”

Eurasian eagle owls, native to a vast region spanning from Siberia to Ethiopia, can live up to 60 years in captivity, yet Flaco tragically passed away just short of his 14th birthday. The Wildlife Conservation Society, which oversees the Central Park Zoo, attributes Flaco’s death to the act of vandalism on his enclosure last year that led to his short-lived freedom, underscoring the need for greater awareness and protection of wildlife. 

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