Rabid raccoon alert in Central Park

July 1, 2010 3:04:23 PM PDT
New York City's crown jewel, Central Park is now overrun with rabid raccoons.

There have been 114 cases so far this year.

The good news is an aggressive trapping campaign means no humans have been attacked since February.

Underneath the stage in the middle of the park is where lot of them live.

People visiting the park with have been keeping tabs by using a video camera or phone. On YouTube there are many videos showing the raccoons in the park.

Although the animals are nocturnal, a lot of females are seen during the day. Be aware, seeing them in daylight doesn't mean they are sick it may mean they are out getting food for their young.

Humans we spoke to in central park were surprised at how many raccoons have turned up rabid.

"There was a huge one, I saw one two days ago in the middle of the day," said Kevin Edwards.

Edwards who was fishing with his granddaughter says another raccoon just climbed up to a fifth floor apt in his building up the street.

There is no word on the health of that animal, but rabid raccoons have been found this year in Central Park west to Fifth Avenue.

Some were found dead and others were acting disoriented or showing signs of rabies. In every case an animal must be put down to test for the disease.

The city now knows there are 237 healthy, tagged and vaccinated raccoons in central park because of a new program they just started months ago. Health officials started keeping tabs once the rabies numbers jumped.

Numbers are coming down month to month, a trend in the city that everyone in the park hopes continues.