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For Release: Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DEC Launching Citizen Science Effort to Track Furbearers in Long Island and New York City

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today encouraged New Yorkers on Long Island and New York City to participate in surveys for furbearing mammals in the region.
"Citizen science efforts provide our wildlife managers with valuable data and give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York's wildlife resources," Commissioner Martens said. "I encourage you to take the time to record your observations of these mammals while exploring the outdoors or driving through the state's beautiful landscapes this summer." DEC began the new citizen science project to document the current distribution of select furbearers in Long Island and New York City to help guide wildlife management decisions and determine future survey and research needs. DEC requests observations from New York City and Long Island for any of the following species:

  • Gray Fox
  • River Otter
  • Weasel
  • Mink
  • Skunk
  • Coyote
  • Beaver

Any information provided to DEC helps staff understand the distribution and abundance of these elusive or inconspicuous mammals. Even reports of road-killed animals may provide useful biological data.

What to do when you observe one of these furbearers:

  • Get a physical description of the animal (size, color, distinctive markings, behavior);
  • Note the location (town, distance to nearest intersection, etc.);
  • Note the type of habitat (woodland, field, pond, lake, etc.);
  • Get a picture! Trail cameras are often very useful for identification purposes;
  • Fill out the sighting report at the furbearer sighting survey.

Common species such as red fox, raccoons, muskrat and opossum, need not be reported.

For more information on identification of these species, please visit DEC website; or if you have questions, please contact DEC's Region 1 wildlife office at 631-444-0311.

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