New York's nickname "concrete jungle" never had anything to do with animals, but the phrase is taking on new meaning with the appearance of wildlife all over the city. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
New Yorkers aren't the only creatures using city parks. There are squirrels...geese...coyotes.
Coyotes? Yep. The Parks Department says coyotes are breeding in Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay parks in the Bronx.
"The population of the coyotes is expanding," says Sarah Aucoin, urban park rangers director with the Parks Department. "It's been expanding throughout New York State, and New York City provides ample habitat with our nicely restored parklands that have many acres of natural areas."
Last week, a coyote even turned up on a Queens rooftop, the latest in a series of wild animal sightings that seem out of place in the city. Staten Island has been overrun with deer, some even swimming from New Jersey, and bald eagles have been spotted along the Hudson River recently.
Experts say these animals aren't going anywhere. In fact, we should expect to see even more of them in the future.
Less pollution and ample food are among the reasons the deer and other animals are returning.
"We've largely eliminated all their natural predators. And secondly, our activities create abundant food for deer," says Patrick Thomas, general curator at the Bronx Zoo. "We'll partially develop land, which will create both areas for deer to browse and graze."
Experts are tracking the animals' return. The Gotham Coyote Project captured images of coyotes with motion sensor cameras in city parks. No need to worry. Despite their wily reputation, coyotes are rather shy.
"I've led plenty of people on tours to try and spot them. I've never seen a coyote," Aucoin says.
The Parks Department believes the visiting eagles came from a nest in New Jersey and might be looking to relocate on Staten Island..
"That would be our first resident eagle in quite some time," Aucoin says.
Thomas points to wooded area on Fordham Road near the zoo and hopes the once-endangered birds settle there.
"We have a fairly large area, approximately 500 acres of wooded habitat, and so there's fish in the river for eagles to feed on, there's lot of ducks," he says.
Wherever they land, it will add to the surprising menagerie of wildlife among us.