An odd creature spotted by Bronx residents numerous times over the past few months around the Morris Heights neighbourhood has finally been identified.
The animal in question, which was first spotted in April by an NYPD officer, is a male fisher, a member of the weasel family that hunts rats and has never been reported in New York City before.
Fishers are known to live throughout upstate New York in the Adirondacks, Dr. Roland Kays of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences told CBS New York, adding that the animals apparent adaptation to an urban environment caused it to travel down the Hudson River and into the city.
“They’re learning how to cross roads,” he said. “They’re learning how to survive right underneath our noses.”
Although their taste for rats could be especially beneficial to numerous New York neighborhoods, Fishers are also known to eat small dogs and cats.
Fishers lived on Manhattan when the island was first settled in the early 1600’s, but quickly disappeared due to the fur trade.
Kays expects more fishers to make their way down to the five boroughs.
“The overall trend in the area is that their populations are increasing and that they’re using more and more urbanized environments,” he told DNA Info. “We’ve never seen them survive in anything as developed as the Bronx, so we don’t know. Can they really set up a population?”
Fishers are not known to carry any diseases, but beware: despite their cute appearance, they have attacked humans before, although this is rare.
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