Hey, Let’s Take All the Unpopular Raccoons and Move them to NYC Parks!

central park raccoon

Which would you rather have the NYC health department spending its limited resources on? Preventing rabies in one of the world’s busiest parks–or providing some old ladies in the practically suburban part of Queens with a free pest removal service?

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NY Considers Capturing Bats to Save Them

little brown bat

“[New York state conservation officials] just held a summit and decided to pluck them out of the wild, but where to put them?” says Kasimoff, one of only a handful of people across the state that can care for bats, which require a special license because they can carry rabies. Kasimoff currently is minding 30 bats at the Bat World Big Apple, a shelter she runs out of her home on Long Island as part of Bat World International. New York state in particular wants to save the little brown bats–if any are left.

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Central Park Raccoons to Get Rabies Shots

Raccoon spectacle

Manhattan raccoons, faced with an epidemic of rabies, are going to get trapped, vaccinated and tagged (so they don’t have to go through the ordeal a second time.) There was a mild panic this winter in the city as rabies started showing up in the raccoons of Central Park and upper Manhattan.

People may have panicked more if they realized how many raccoons really live in this densely packed city. The New York City Health Department has found 49 rabid raccoons in Manhattan, mostly in the top 13 blocks of Central Park. (Oddly, the state isn’t keeping  up.) As a wildlife rehabber I get calls from people who just spot raccoons in the city. The raccoons are fine, but people assume something is terribly wrong if a raccoon is living here.

That’s a relief to animal lovers who feared they’d just be rounded up and euthanized–an animal control strategy that usually doesn’t work because new animals just move into the undefended territory.

If you go on an owl walk at dusk in summer in the North Woods of Central Park, you’ll be amazed at how many raccoons you’ll see. They’ll be sleepily climbing out of tree cavities and holes between boulders to start their day.

American pets don’t get rabies much anymore because they get vaccines. The northeast has a huge population of  rabid raccoons thanks to hunters who imported them from dealers, John Hadidian, head of the Humane Society of the United State‘s Urban Wildlife program. The

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