Skunk visits Stuy Town, later relocated upstate

Anne Lazarus saw this skunk while out bird watching. (Photo by Anne Lazarus)

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday morning, a resident of Stuyvesant Town who was out bird watching saw a form of wildlife she’d never encountered before — a skunk – by the Oval.

The resident, Anne Lazarus, said at first she thought she was looking at a large cat — possibly around two feet long including its tail – but then realized what it was as it lumbered along the walkway. Therefore, she knew not to get too close.

Upon noticing Lazarus, she said, “It raised its tail and I backed off quickly.” She then contacted a public safety and an officer who’s previously rescued animals, Patrolman Morales, responded. Armed with a bag at the end of a pole he managed to get the black and white critter inside a large container. Unfortunately, this wasn’t without getting sprayed first.

UPDATE: Later, he told us: “Thank goodness I live alone because whoever I was with would have left, I smelled so bad.”

Lazarus had left the scene by that point but later heard from Morales that he’d brought the skunk to an appropriate area in upstate Kingston and released it there.

Patrolman Morales captured the skunk, although not without getting sprayed.

Lazarus also learned that the creature, which was male and young, appeared to be in good health. She believes it may have been from Inwood, a popular breeding ground, but seeking new territory so it could mate.

“This is a perfect place,” said Lazarus. “You have bushes and places to hide.”

She’d spotted it somewhere between 12 and 20 Stuyvesant Oval, which, she added, is also a prime bird watching spot.

“You get a lot of interesting sightings there, some birds I couldn’t even identify,” she said. Upon seeing the skunk, however, some of the birds may have become alarmed. “I think some of the birds went a little crazy, flying around.”

Lazarus, a longtime birder, gives occasional guided bird walks through Stuyvesant Town and Stuyvesant Cove. As for the skunk sighting, she said she wanted to thank Stuy Town management for how wild animal situations have been getting addressed, like the rescue of an injured bat in May.

The only thing management needs to do, she added, is find a way to help keep birds from flying into windows. She recommended putting netting or ultra violet tints (which birds can see) on the window panes of the Oval amenity spaces. “Those big panes are like a big glass trap,” she said.

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5 thoughts on “Skunk visits Stuy Town, later relocated upstate

  1. Maybe the nature knowledged can answer this… how does a skunk (or coyote, peacock, other wild animals) wind up here? Sure we have the perfect living situation for them, but it’s not like we aren’t completely surrounded concrete and buildings. Even East River Park would require traveling along that small path from 12th street to 18th street. Do they chat with their wildlife friends about this place and come to check it out?

    On another note, this should tell all you squirrel feeding enthusiasts that the squirrels are just fine without you feeding them. Other wildlife would not be coming here if there were not natural sources of food.

  2. I’ll stop feeding the squirrels when everyone in Stuyvesant Town gets carpeting and stops running through the streets at 3AM, screaming…. then I’ll stop.

    • Same here! Btw, I don’t think a skunk smells much, if any, worse than the skunk pot that hangs in the air in our hallways!

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