New York City officials, USDA vaccinating raccoons against rabies
City agencies are working with wildlife biologists from the United States Department of Agriculture to vaccinate raccoons against rabies across New York City.
In order to do so, they conceal the oral liquid vaccine in a small packet that smells like fish. Raccoons then try to consume the bait and in turn are vaccinated.
The city is distributing the bait in densely wooded areas, such as cemeteries in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
They say the goal is to prevent the spread of raccoon rabies to the western United States. Eventually, the hope is to eliminate the variant altogether.
“While coming into contact with a rabid raccoon is very rare, raccoons are residents of our city, and New Yorkers should be advised -- if you see a raccoon, give them space and never approach or try to feed them. Do your part to keep raccoons healthy by placing your trash in tightly closed receptacles and don’t feed your pets outside,” said Sarah Aucoin, chief of education and wildlife for NYC Parks.
So far this year, the city says 12 animals have tested positive for rabies in New York City. While the number may seem low, just one interaction can be fatal.
If you come across an animal that appears to be rabid, you're urged to call 311.