Travel up to the northernmost neighborhoods of Manhattan these days and you might catch a whiff of more than just gentrification in the air—now skunks have invaded Inwood and Washington Heights as well! The area where the only skunk smell formerly found was from the weed sold along Dyckman Street is now crawling with the unwanted pests. The Parks Department's chief naturalist says, “It really seems like the population has gone from zero to many. I’m not sure why."

Jim Dwyer of the Times gives a detailed account of the battle between the skunks and his neck of the woods (Washington Heights). The woodsy areas around Inwood Hill and Fort Tryon Parks have provided a comfy home for skunks. Apparently Animal Control will only pick them up if the skunks are "acting strangely" and might be rabid. The Parks rep adds, “In cities where we don’t have the high-level predators, the bobcats and coyotes, the mid-level predators like skunks and raccoons pretty much have free rein. No one is keeping their populations in check.

The skunks have made their way into Manhattan after migrating from the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The Parks Department's website says that they are "common sights" along Tibbetts Brook in Van Cortlandt Park. Earlier this summer, rabid raccoons were being discovered throughout the city.