STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The city Department of Parks and Recreation says it has found no evidence of a coyote population on Staten Island, months after a video surfaced on social media showing a large canine dragging a deer carcass in Travis.
After receiving reported coyote sightings, the department set up game cameras in Freshkills Park between 2017 and 2019, and did not find any coyotes in the more-than 100,000 images captured, a spokeswoman for the department said.
Parks has also sent animal waste samples from Brookfield Park to the Gotham Coyote Project for analysis, and no results have come back conclusively belonging to coyotes. The spokeswoman said the department will continue to investigate reported sightings.
A video surfaced in November showing a large canine dragging a deer carcass into a brush patch in Travis. Staten Island residents and elected officials have long raised concerns that the boroughs deer population would inevitably lead to the introduction of their natural predators.
City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid-Island) wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio in late November raising concerns about the video.
The dangers posed by deer are real, but they will pale in comparison to a situation where a large number of predatory animals, like coyotes or wolves, descend on our borough in search of easy prey, Matteo wrote. Under that scenario, we could see situations where our pets are attacked and killed and human lives are in direct danger.
Matteo tweeted Tuesday morning that in the citys response they confirmed theyre aware of the video, and that the animal in the video is not a wolf, because wolves are no longer found in the state.
COYOTES IN THE CITY -- UPTOWN
According to the Parks Department, coyotes live in New York City and are particularly active in the Bronx. Most coyotes are not dangerous to humans, and only a few bites are reported each year nationwide.
The Parks Department advises people to keep their distance if they cross paths with any wildlife, and to report the sighting to the WildlifeNYC website -- unless it poses a clear danger to public safety, in which case, call 911.
While the Park Departments recent surveys have not discovered a presence of coyotes in the borough, the Advance reported in 2012 that a photo of a coyote had been captured near the former Fresh Kills landfill.
At the time, Dr. Paul D. Curtis, the extension wildlife specialist in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University identified the animal as a typical Eastern coyote. Curtis was also working as an investigator for the New York Suburban Coyote Study initiated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
A spokeswoman for the DEC said the department never confirmed that the photo was of a coyote, and has no confirmed sightings on Staten Island in the past ten years.
In addition to the large canine, and the typical deer and turkey sightings, red foxes have also been spotted on the island and captured in recent videos.
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