What is WildlifeNYC?
What is urban wildlife?
Why does wildlife live here?
What does it mean to be native or non-native wildlife?
Does the presence of wildlife in the City present a danger for me or my family?
I'm concerned that wildlife is hungry. Is it okay to feed them?
How do I learn more about urban wildlife?
WildlifeNYC is a campaign launched by the City of New York to increase public awareness about urban wildlife. This is an unprecedented effort to promote conservation and coexistence between humans and wildlife through public policy, responsible management plans, and educational initiatives.
Urban wildlife is any wild animal that lives in an urban environment, such as New York City. Urban wildlife includes birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians. Some urban wildlife is native, like eastern grey squirrels, while some are non-native, like mute swans. Domesticated and companion animals, like dogs, exotic pets, and farm animals are not considered urban wildlife. Domesticated but feral animals like pigeons and stray cats are also not considered urban wildlife.
New York City is a habitat designed for people, but the physical land itself is also home to wild animals that arrived or existed long before humans settled here. Humans and wildlife both require food, water, shelter, and space to survive. As such, New York City has all of the requirements for hearty wild animals to thrive. The presence of many diverse species of wildlife is a good indicator of the general health of the urban environment.
Native wildlife are categorized as wild animals that lived in the region prior to European colonization, beginning in the late 16th century. Examples include white-tailed deer, blue jays, and snapping turtles. Non-native wildlife are animals introduced to this region either purposefully or by accident. Examples include the Norway rat, European starling, and red eared slider.
Most wild animals will do their best to avoid humans. But some wild animals become used to seeing and being around people, and may lose their natural fear of humans. Conflicts between people and wildlife mainly arise when we fail to respect each other's boundaries. To avoid conflicts with wildlife, always remember to keep your distance, keep pets on a leash in natural areas, feed pets indoors, and make sure your trash and food waste is secured in a garbage can.
Never feed or provide food for a wild animal. Wild animals do not need supplemental food from humans. Healthy wild animals can feed themselves and their family. Wild animals that are fed by people often become dependent on handouts and lose their instincts to hunt and forage. Eating food that is not part of their natural diet may also make them sick.
You can visit nyc.gov/wildlife for information about many kinds of animals, as well as listings of upcoming wildlife-related events, family-friendly activities, and suggested locations to observe and enjoy local urban wildlife.