An owl who became a celebrity after he escaped from the Central Park Zoo in New York City and defied capture for weeks will be allowed to keep his freedom. Photo courtesy of Central Park Zoo
Feb. 18 (UPI) --
An owl who became a celebrity after he escaped from the Central Park Zoo in New York City and defied capture for weeks will be allowed to keep his freedom. For now.
Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl, was sighted Thursday night as zoo staffers tried to lure him with bait and recordings of eagle owl calls, the Central Park Zoo said
in a statement
"Though he showed some interest in the calls, the attempt was unsuccessful. As we noted previously, efforts at recovering the bird have proven more difficult since he has been very successful at hunting and consuming the abundant prey in the park," the statement reads.
"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. We will issue additional updates if there is a change in the eagle owl's status or our plan changes."
has been on the lam
since he escaped Feb. 2 when his exhibit was vandalized, sparking a manhunt that involved park rangers and even police officers. Several attempts have been made to capture the fugitive bird of prey.
Birdwatchers across the Big Apple have since tried to snag photos of the escaped owl, many of which have been shared online as Flaco became a local celebrity.
"As an avid birdwatcher, I wonder if it's not a great idea to introduce a huge, nonnative bird of prey to Central Park, an important stopover for many of our own native birds," birdwatcher Alison S.
told the West Side Rag
, a hyperlocal news website catering to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
"He will eat whatever he can, which could possibly include threatened species of our own, not to mention outcompeting or harassing the great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, and barred owls that visit us here."