(Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images)

(CNN) --

A little over a year ago, the Eurasian eagle owl Flaco captured the hearts of New Yorkers when he fled a vandalized Central Park Zoo enclosure.

Flaco, dubbed "one of New York's flyest" by the city's mayor, Eric Adams, died Friday after crashing into a building in Manhattan, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced.

After Flaco's escape in February 2023, the authorities made numerous attempts to recapture him, without success.

Flaco became an attraction in Central Park, where birdwatchers and others regularly posted updates on X about his whereabouts and eating habits.

Despite the efforts of members of the Wild Bird Fund, who rushed to the scene of the collision on Friday, the bird was declared dead, according to WCS.

The Wild Bird Fund notified zoo staff, who collected the bird and transported it to the Bronx Zoo for a necropsy.

"The vandal who damaged Flaco's exhibit endangered the bird's safety and is ultimately responsible for its death," the Wildlife Conservation Society stated.

"We are still hopeful that the NYPD, who is investigating the vandalism, will eventually make an arrest."


The Central Park Zoo discovered on Feb. 2, 2023, that Skinny had escaped from his enclosure after someone vandalized him and cut his stainless steel mesh, the zoo had said.

Since then, Flaco had been frequently seen in and around Central Park and elsewhere in Manhattan, according to the organization.

His staff monitored him throughout the year and were prepared to retrieve him if he showed any signs of difficulty or distress, WCS said.

With a wingspan of up to 1.80 meters, the great horned owl is one of the largest owls in the world.

Like most owls, it is nocturnal.

The owl hunts at night and tends to sleep during the day.

In the wild, their lifespan ranges from 10 to 20 years, while some live up to 60 years in captivity.

"We appreciate all the support and concern for Flaco's well-being over the past year and the many people who contacted us to let us know," the conservation society stated.

"We especially appreciate the quick response of the Wild Bird Fund staff in their attempt to help Flaco."

The Wildlife Conservation Society said it will provide additional information once the necropsy is performed and test results are received.