Health and Wellness

Flaco the Central Park Owl: Elected Officials and Bird Experts Unveil Historic Package of Bills

NEW YORK (WABC) — A New York City councilman has introduced a package of bills in honor of the beloved famous owl who died after surviving alone in the wild for more than a year after leaving the Central Park Zoo.

Elected officials, scientists, bird experts and New Yorkers held a rally at City Hall on Thursday to announce the introduction of the historic package of bills.

Flaco died after eating pigeons infected with the virus and was exposed to rat poison before flying into an Upper West Side building on February 23.

Councilman Shaun Abreu introduced the first of three pieces of “Skinny Laws” to stop unnecessary bird deaths like Skinny’s. One part of the bill would require the health department to replace rat poison with rat contraceptives.

“Flaco’s autopsy confirmed our worst fears: he ingested a fatal dose of rat poison. Not only are rodenticides toxic to the animals we love, they are increasingly ineffective at reducing rat infestations. It’s time we implemented new practices to build a better world and a safer and more ecological city,” said Abreu. “We can’t poison our way out of the rat problem, but we can certainly cause a lot of damage trying.”

Another bill would address light pollution and reflective windows in buildings that disorient birds.

This photo provided by David Lei shows Flaco the owl on April 28, 2023, in New York.

Courtesy of David Lei via AP

Flaco was released from his cage at the Central Park Zoo in early 2023 by a vandal who broke a waist-high fence and punched a hole in a steel mesh cage. The owl had arrived at the zoo when he was a fledgling 13 years earlier.

Flaco’s death was a heartbreaking end for birdwatchers who documented his daily movements and the legions of admirers who followed him, as people posted photos and videos of the majestic owl with a wingspan of nearly 6 feet perched on tree branches, fence posts and fire escapes. and water towers, as well as their hours of booing.

In addition to the ticket package introduced Thursday, a tattoo parlor in Brooklyn offered discounted tattoos of the beloved bird from noon to 7 p.m. They were offered at East River Tattoo in Greenpoint and were $150 with tips donated to the Wild Bird Fund.

“It’s something that people connect with on a personal level and just their own struggle to exist in a challenging place to live,” said tattoo artist Duke Riley.

Efforts are also underway to place a statue of Flaco in Central Park.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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