As many New Yorkers are vaguely aware, the Port Authority kills animals (such as adorable bunnies) at New York City-area airports, because they can interfere with the airplanes. (Remember how those geese caused the Miracle on the Hudson?) And, according to a Sunday New York Post report, sometimes those animals are the sorts of creatures people aren’t supposed to shoot.
Data obtained by the paper through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that Port Authority shot 20,000 animals for getting too close to various tarmacs over the past two years. A northern harrier hawk, which is endangered, and an American kestrel falcon, which is listed as threatened, were among the unlucky creatures who met their ends at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport. Meanwhile, eleven ospreys, which are listed as at-risk, were killed at JFK Airport.
But, for the most part, the victims of the Port Authority’s airport genocide are non-special birds, such as the cutely named laughing gull (5,729 killed at JFK), the European starling (body count: 3,203 down), and the herring gull (2,445 down), and the mourning dove (1,908 eliminated). Four red foxes, eleven coyotes, 44 muskrats, 62 woodchucks, and eleven white-tailed deer were also included in the death toll. (To be fair, the Port Authority told the Post 95 percent of their “wildlife-control measures [are] nonlethal.”) At least the majestic snowy owls have been spared.