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Flaco had rat poison, pigeon virus in his system when he died, Central Park Zoo says

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    NEW YORK, NY (WCBS) — Several factors contributed to Flaco the owl’s death last month, according to his necropsy.

The Central Park Zoo released the results of the report Monday.

“In addition to the traumatic injuries, Flaco had two significant underlying conditions,” zoo officials wrote in a statement.

Flaco not only suffered traumatic injuries from colliding with a building, he was also exposed to four kinds of rat poison and had contracted a severe case of something called “pigeon herpesvirus” from eating feral pigeons.

The zoo said the virus caused inflammation and severe tissue damage in his spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow and brain.

“These factors would have been debilitating and ultimately fatal, even without a traumatic injury, and may have predisposed him to flying into or falling from the building,” the zoo wrote.

Toxicology results also revealed trace amounts of DDE, a breakdown of the pesticide DDT, but the zoo said the levels were not significant and did not contribute to his death.

Flaco escaped from the zoo on Feb. 2, 2023 after someone apparently cut the steel mesh on his exhibit. The zoo spent weeks trying to capture him, but he evaded the efforts and spent a year living in the wild.

The 13-year-old Eurasian eagle-owl died last month after colliding with a building on West 89th Street.

He left his mark on the city, and his followers set up a memorial at the base of his favorite tree. Central Park’s Wollman Rink even held a special ice show paying tribute to the bird.

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