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Queens Chronicle

Don’t starve wildlife

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

(An open Letter to New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation Chairman Peter Koo urging for an independent review on NYC Parks’ proposed ban on feeding birds and squirrels in all of NYC’s Parks).

Re Review Request on Parks’ Proposed Rule Change banning feeding birds & squirrels in NYC Parks.

Bronx Animal Rights Electors is campaigning against the NYC Parks proposed ban on feeding birds and squirrels in NYC Parks. We held several rallies, social media action alerts as well as received media coverage.

What is tragic is the deiberate eradication of NYC wildlife. From the roundups, deliberate removal of habitat and food, as well as now the proposed ban on feeding birds and squirrels.

Many parks in our city no longer plant the native trees that offer more bugs for our birds or the trees that bear seeds and nuts for our squirrels. Many parks use pesticides that not only kill insects that birds rely on but also do harm on our wildlife that forage in the grass. Just recently, the vegetation in Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park was removed and the gosling will most likely starve as they did in prior years.

Parks and the Mayor’s Office have made several assertions with NO data that our birds and squirrels are aggressive, that the few feeders that do exist bring rats to the parks and that they cause the birds and/or squirrels to be ill. First, with over 8 million residents and 60 million annual visitors to our city, there has been NO death or serious injury caused by any of our birds or squirrels in our parks. Second, all the permitted concessions, barbecuing and eating in the parks is what brings rats not the seniors with their bread crumbs. Lastly, due to scarce natural food sources, the birds and squirrels resort to plastic and trash that makes them ill.

Now that we have you as our new Parks chairperson, we are hoping that the Committee on Parks and Recreation would at least have a review of this agency rule change. Not only because of the overwhelming opposition but because of the harm it will do on our birds and squirrels in our parks. During harsh winter when the water is frozen and the grounds is covered in snow, the birds and squirrels can’t forage and don’t freeze but die of starvation, a painful death.

In the newly released United Nation Report, over 1 million species of animals, insects and plants are on the brink of extinction because of loss of habitat and insecticides. The report calls on us to Think Globally, Act Locally. We ask the City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation to act on the United Nation’s urgent call for the sake of our city as well as our planet. We ask for at least a democratic review on this proposed ban to address concerns and assertions made with no data or evidence before this ban is steamrolled despite overwhelming opposition.

Roxanne Delgado
Organizer of Bronx Animal Rights Electors
Bronx

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