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Health Dept. to Vaccinate and Track Central Park Raccoons

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This week New York City becomes one of the first areas to try to reduce the threat of rabid raccoons by capturing, vaccinating, tagging and releasing them. WNYC's Fred Mogul has more.

REPORTER: The first traps were laid yesterday. The Health Department says that the raccoon population is growing unchecked in Central Park, Morningside Park and Riverside Park. More and more of the animals are believed to be rabid. So far only one person and one dog have been bitten. A task force considered various options including leaving edible vaccine around for the raccoons to eat or poisoning them to reduce the population. The experts decided to try this approach first.

The Health Department estimates there are hundreds of raccoons in Manhattan and hopes to vaccinate about two-thirds of them.

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