STATEN ISLAND, NY – Turkeys seem to be everywhere on Staten Island – and we’re not talking about the ones on the tables at your Thanksgiving feasts.
Wild turkeys found on Staten Island are nothing new. Despite attempts by local authorities to rid the island of them, it appears that the island’s herd is increasing in numbers.
At first they were confined to the Mid-Island, mostly located near Staten Island University and the mental hospitals of South Beach and the surrounding neighborhood. In recent years, poultry have been sighted in Silver Lake, Mariners Harbour, Westerleigh, Willowbrook and other areas of the borough.
READERS CATCH TURKEYS ON CAMERA
We recently asked the Staten Islanders where they spot the most wild turkeys and here’s what they said:
-Lincoln Avenue in Grant City
-Victory Boulevard and Watchogue Road are blocking traffic, a reader said.
– “A huge 15-person clan in Silver Lake Park,” Lois Alonzo posted on Facebook.
-Clove Lakes Park
– Ludwig Street, New Brighton
-Howard Avenue, Grymes Hill
-Woolley Avenue, Willowbrook
-Close to Planet Fitness, Forest Avenue in West Brighton
-Bent Avenue, West Brighton
-Forest Hill Road to Richmond Hill Road, New Springville
-Arlo Road, Grymes Hill
-Hamden Avenue, Grant City
-Mill Road and Ebbits Street, New Dorp
OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO WORK ON PLAN
Councilor David Carr (R-Mid-Island) said he was committed to working with the state to find a solution to the wild turkey situation.
“We are committed to working together to address the quality of life issues that have arisen with the increase in the invasive turkey population, and we will work with my colleagues and other stakeholders to develop a long-term strategy,” Carr said previously. Advance/SILive.com.
The wild birds had previously been relocated to And-Hof Animal Sanctuary in upstate New York, but relocation efforts were put on hold in October 2019 amid concerns the state could not keep the turkeys on his property, and said the site would need to set up a pen or clip the wings of the turkeys annually so they couldn’t fly. Additionally, the sanctuary would need to expand the area by 12 acres to add room for additional turkeys – as the number had grown to over 200.
The coronavirus pandemic hit soon after, and the state severed ties with the sanctuary.
The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has since taken a different stance on how to deal with the borough’s birds, saying it doesn’t believe capturing and transporting animals wildlife are a viable long-term solution.
A DEC spokesperson previously told Advance/SILive.com, “DEC is committed to working with Council Member Carr, other borough officials, as well as affected communities, and looks forward to providing assistance to New York City as it develops a long-term management strategy to address the established population of wild turkeys on Staten Island.
CAN WE CO-EXIST WITH WILD TURKEYS?
David Karopkin, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, advisor and wildlife advocate, said he believes the turkeys belong on Staten Island — they’re part of the borough’s ecosystem and have thrived.
“I’m looking at this through a broader lens of how we co-exist with the wildlife around us? How do we tackle the problems caused by the presence of wild animals near humans? ” he said.
Like the state, Karopkin said he believes relocating turkeys isn’t the best option because unless every turkey is captured, poultry will still exist on Staten Island.
“So shouldn’t the goal be to learn how to mitigate these situations and conflicts [people have with the wild turkeys] to best resolve them and learn to coexist with them? asked Karopkin.
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