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article imageNew York City's street, parks and apartments an urban zoo

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By Joan Firstenberg     Dec 24, 2011 in Environment
New York - It's no secret. New York City is a wild place. It's also an urban jungle, filled with wild alligators, wolf dogs, hawks, tigers, snakes and more. Many residents keep them as exotic pets and actually set aside separate rooms for them. Others cohabitate.
On December 20, New York City police found a three-year-old female illegal wolf roaming the streets of Brooklyn. The New York Daily News reports that the city's Animal Care and Control spokesman Richard Gentles says they found her near Elton St. and Vandalia Ave. in East New York, wearing a collar and a chain and appeared to have been kept as an exotic pet. Wolf-dog hybrids which are produced by mating a grey wolf with a wolf-like dog like a Siberian Huskie or Alaskan Malamute are wild animals, illegal pets in New York.
Another incident involves a hawk that decided to hang out at Brooklyn’s Fulton Shopping Mall. AnimalNewYork.com reports that the bird appeared to be relaxed and stayed outside the shopping center for about 10 minutes. The hawk didn't move as children and their parents stopped to take a look. But when a dog got a little too close to him, he flew away.
In 2003, police were called to a Harlem apartment to take away Ming, a 400-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger that was being housed as a pet by Antoine Yates.
And in 2004, animal control officers removed an illegal tarantula and six monkeys from a Washington Heights studio apartment of Orlando Lopez. The menagerie, included a Great Dane, a Chihuahua and two cats, who all lived in the apartment's biggest room, while Lopez and his roommate slept in the kitchen.
Parks workers say a one-year-old coyote led them on a two-day chase through Central Park in March 2006. And a year later, a raccoon caused quite a stir when he snuck into the Central Parks and Recreation headquarters building.
A huge controversy erupted in the city after two red-tailed hawks created a nest for themselves on top of a fancy co-op apartment building on Manhattan's swanky Fifth Avenue. The occurrence was so unique, and attracted so many viewers, who both loved and hated the sight that the birds were named Pale Male and Lola. But some people who lived in the building were not pleased and asked their co-op board to remove the nest and the birds, and they did. Animal lovers led by their spokesman, E.J. McAdams of the New York Audobon Society demonstrated outside the apartment building after the 12th-story nest was removed. And eventually the bird advocates won the battle, and the city installed a 300-pound, stainless steel custom nest platform to welcome Pale Male and Lola home.
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