Imagine you’re strolling though your neighborhood or favorite city park and a coyote crosses your path. Would you know what to do—aside from snapping a pic, of course?
Answering that question is just one goal of the newly launched education and awareness campaign WildlifeNYC, which aims to teach New Yorkers about living among “urban fauna.”
“Recent sightings of deer, coyotes and other unexpected animals make it clear that New York City can be a wild place,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news release. “WildlifeNYC’s emphasis on education, outreach, and humane population control will help all New Yorkers care for our urban environment—and the animals who share it with us.”
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The campaign is a collaborative effort by the mayor’s office, the police department and several city agencies. Cornell University, the American Museum of Natural History, Gotham Coyote Project and White Buffalo are among its partners.
WildlifeNYC includes a web portal where residents can report animal sightings and find information on city-dwelling species and current initiatives. One of its core functions is a deer management program in Staten Island, which has included education, traffic safety and sterilization measures. To date, nearly 300 male deer have been sterilized.
“We are increasingly sharing our roads and yards with deer and other wild species. It is important that we learn to coexist safely,” Council Member Debi Rose of Staten Island said.
“WildlifeNYC encourages New Yorkers to appreciate and respect the animals we live with. New Yorkers should call 311 if they are concerned about animals in their neighborhood,” Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett added.