There is a 100 percent chance that raccoons, like squirrels, are making power moves to push humans out of New York City and rightfully reclaim the pretzel carts as their own. The Parks Department has obviously recognized this coup d'état in the making, but, ever the peacemakers, they've chosen the diplomatic route, and released a video today offering tips on how to safely cohabitate with our enemy procyonids. This news comes too late for New Yorkers who have already been evicted and/or eaten by raccoons, but any nugget of help is useful in this battle.
Behold, modern diplomacy:
— NYC Parks (@NYCParks) May 18, 2017
The above video is actually part of the Parks Department's new WildlifeNYC campaign, which aims to better acquaint New Yorkers with the many animals with whom we share this city's halal trucks. The raccoon video is the campaign's first.
"In an urban setting, animals like raccoons can be viewed as a nuisance, but basic precautions like making sure you aren’t inadvertently feeding raccoons, makes for peaceful co-living," NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said in a statement. "Our city is home to millions of people, and also millions of wild animals. We want New Yorkers to live in harmony with the more than 600 species who share our city."
Indeed, though tourists feel compelled to feed raccoons, this is not a good idea, and not just because of what might happen should they develop a taste for Chinese food. Though raccoons are mostly harmless and cute, there was a rabies outbreak among Central Park raccoons in 2010, and they do occasionally (but very rarely) attack humans.
Still, the Parks Department hopes this new initiative will keep both humans and raccoons safe—other animals profiled will include frequent Gothamist subjects like Virginia opossums, coyotes, horseshoe crabs, whales, and red-tailed hawks. The Department says they'll be releasing more videos on their Facebook page all month.