Raccoons in Central Park, other Manhattan parks to be trapped and vaccinated against rabies

Northern Central Park is apparently a hot spot for raccoons so that is one of the places that New York City Health Department officials are focusing efforts to vaccinate the critters against rabies.

The Health Department announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife biologists will trap, vaccinate, tag, and release raccoons in Central Park, Inwood Hill Park, Fort Tryon Park, Fort Washington Park, Morningside Park, and Riverbank State Park between April 15 and April 29. Workers will also drop small plastic bait packets containing oral rabies vaccines in the parks.

"Vaccinating raccoons against rabies will protect them from becoming infected with rabies and prevent people and pets from being bitten by a rabid raccoon," the Health Department said on its website. "Do not touch the traps, especially if there is an animal in the trap."  

In 2011, wildlife workers trapped, vaccinated, and released almost 500 raccoons in and around Central Park. 

In March, the Health Department urged New Yorkers to vaccinate their pets because four raccoons with rabies had been found in Inwood Hill Park. They were the first rabid raccoons to turn up in Manhattan since the 2011 vaccination surge.

Raccoons usually come out at night. If you see one, don't go near it. If the animal appears sluggish or aggressive, call 311. You can also report sightings of raccoons, deer, coyotes, and foxes online.

Download (PDF): Tips for keeping raccoons away from your home.