Photographs: Alamy (Chipmunk, Bat, Falcon, Gnat Catcher)
The commonest creatures in Central Park are widely recognized: the fast-moving Rollerbladus fashionistus, the fragrant Frankfurterus sabrettii. Lurking away from the paths, however, are many more. On August 29, volunteers from CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, led by the Central Park Conservancy and dozens of scientists, set out to catalogue it all. The BioBlitz, as this decennial census is called, identified 173 species that were either newly spotted or returning after an absence. (With more potentially to come, as a few eggs hatch.) That adds up to a lot of new flora and fauna, and the findings are both positive (a cleaner park has been good to wildlife) and problematic (seven new species were most likely introduced by humans). This crowded 843 acres is its own little biome and—as the Conservancy’s president and CEO, Douglas Blonsky, puts it—similarly “pulsing with life.”
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