Bill the SoHo groundhog is now Van Cortlandt Bill. The grumpy little woodchuck was found mysteriously wandering around West Broadway in lower Manhattan a few days ago. The workers at the SoHo Grand did a great job of catching him (no easy thing to do) and finding a wildlife rehabilitator (me).
Normally wildlife rehabbers take in animals that are injured, orphaned or sick. Bill was just in the wrong place, somehow transplanted to a neighborhood of concrete by humans. He was fine–aside from being ticked off at being in a cage. He enjoyed the apples, chestnuts and acorns I gave him, but let me know he had big teeth and knew how to use them. I just needed to find the right place to release him. In New York wildlife rehabbers are supposed to release the animal the region where you found it–in this case New York City.
With the help of the city’s most prolific rehabber Bobby Horvath, I found David Kunstler, the wildlife manager for Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks in the Bronx. Groundhogs are found in both parks (and also Fort Tryon and Staten Island). Kunstler recommended Vault Hill, where the parks department is restoring a meadow. Bill got very excited as soon as he realized he was near the wild. He tried to chew through the carrier bars. When I opened the door, he sat there stunned for a minute, but then happily took off. Where to See Animals in New York City
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