CPC May 9, 2011

Updated May 22, 2011

It's more important now than ever to have the CP Conservancy remove all rodenticides from the entire park. Palemale's hunting will increase now that he has babies to feed which makes the situation more worrisome. The response many of you have been receiving from Neil Calvanese (VP for Operations, CP Conservancy) is all baseless defensive talk. Raptors are dying throughout the city as a direct result of the use of rat poisoning. Doug Blonsky, Neil Calvanese and the entire NYC Parks and Recreation are not interested in protecting our wildlife. They are not interested in addressing the real and practical methods of rodent control which is for example eliminating the use of disposable products which retains fragments of food when discarded. There is no time to have arguments with these people since they are known and proven deceivers.

Another very important issue right now is to have the sharp pigeon spikes on the balcony railing just below the nest removed. These railings serve as a resting spot for Palemale when he is taking food to his nest. He needs to rest just before making the final entry to the nest and when he is tired he is forced to land on these lethal spikes.
I spoke to Harold Winters (the owner of the 12th Floor of 927 Fifth Ave) on Saturday who, no surprise, told me he has no control of what the building does.
Brown Harris Stevens must remove these spikes as soon as possible. Removing them can be done with no building permits required and as such, no excuses! The spikes are held in place with nylon cable ties and can be easily reached from the windows of the 12th Floor apartment. These ‘pigeon’ spikes were installed for no other reason than to keep off Palemale and as such to injure him. After seven years it is firm that no one in that building nor it’s management cares or is repentant for their vile actions in December 2004. Throughout the years since they have all continued to be evil minded and never did the smallest thing possible to help these animals. The spikes are a threat to Palemale and Lima and must be removed. The people who can do it is:

Noreen McKenna
770 Lexington Avenue, 4th flr
New York, NY 10065
Phone: 212-508-7200
Fax: 212-508-7300

I have not spoken to McKenna in a few years but I am going to be prepared for their usual lies and excuses.


May 20, 2011

Dear Lincoln

I thought you might be interested to see the response I got and my reply. Having bashed my head against the brick wall of beaurocracy here in South Africa for many years, I do understand what you are up against. These intellectual types will find a way to justify their actions and unless there is a great deal of unpleasantness and publicity they will not change.

My heartfelt thanks and admiration for your perseverance and dedication. Your generosity in sharing the magnificent photography and the time you take to keep the world informed is truly a blessing to me every day.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Pale Male as you wait to see if there is indeed a chick in the nest.

With many thanks and all best wishes


(Port Elizabeth)
----- Original Message -----
From: Neil Calvanese
To: jmilford@telkomsa.net
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2011 11:29 PM
Subject: Poison in Central Park

To: Dr. Julia Milford

Dear Dr. Milford:

The NYC 3-1-1 Customer Service Center has forwarded your correspondence regarding the use of pesticides in Central Park.

The single most effective measure that the Central Park Conservancy uses to control rats is aggressive garbage control, including strict sanitation practices which significantly reduce the need for baiting. In addition to keeping all of our landscapes as clean as possible during the day, we have dedicated staff at night whose job it is to empty trash receptacles after 4:00 pm. We utilize rat-proof trash receptacles in heavily trafficked areas, and we are implementing greener practices which will reduce the amount of trash inside the Park.

When a decision is made to put out limited bait, it is premised on the fact there is an actual infestation of rodents. Rats pose a risk to public health and safety. They contaminate food, damage structures and property, and transmit parasites and diseases to other animals and humans. Protecting Central Park’s wildlife is of paramount importance, and our rodent control program utilizes best management practices that reflect this.

The Conservancy uses rat bait that poses the least potential for secondary kill. We take appropriate measures to minimize the risk to hawks, other predatory birds, and wildlife through the careful use of secured, limited-access bait boxes that contain no more than 3 ounces of rodenticide. Activated bait boxes are constantly monitored to be sure that they are intact. Staff does not bait in areas where hawks and birds feed during nesting and fledgling season, from approximately late-March to October. Throughout the Park, 70% of what appear to be regular bait boxes are actually population monitoring stations that contain a non-poisonous lure.

The amount of rat bait applied in the Park has significantly and continually declined in the last decade. During the same time period, we have received no reports that any hawks or other raptors have been poisoned in Central Park by the active ingredient used in our limited baiting program. We have been witnessing a diversification of wildlife attributable to our finely-tuned program: chipmunks are returning to the Park as a direct result of the reduction in the competing rat population, and we have received reports that there has been an increase in the numbers of white-footed mice. Establishing, maintaining, and protecting a healthy balance of wildlife in one of the busiest urban parks in the world is immensely challenging, and it will always be one of the goals in all of our endeavors.

For matters concerning Central Park, you may get in touch directly with the Central Park Conservancy. Please do not hesitate to call or email Caroline Greenleaf in our Operations Department, who is the Conservancy's Manager of Community Relations, 212-628-1036, ext. 26, or cgreenleaf@centralparknyc.org.


Neil Calvanese
VP for Operations
Central Park Conservancy


thank you for your response.

However I am still not convinced.

There is no such thing as a rat bait that does not pose a threat to other animals. Rats take a long time to die and until they do they are sluggish and deviate from their normal behaviour, thereby becoming easy pickings for hawks, owls and herons. Rats will invariably eat far more than just a single lethal dose, and the excess remains unmetabolised and therefore 100% toxic to any predator that eats the sick rat.

I am a wildlife veterinarian and have been treating so called secondary rat poisoning for 25 years. Not only are the poisons killing the direct predators, there is a further tier to the tragedy, I have lost egrets, ibis and other scavengers that eat the bits and pieces dropped and regurgitated by affected herons and owls.

Claiming that the bait is not put out where the hawks hunt, is just absurd because the entire park is their territory and they are hunting everywhere in the park.

As far as disease goes, unless there has been an outbreak of plague in New York of which I have have not heard, in this day and age in a city it is highly unlikely and improbable that any human will contract any form of illness from a rat. If they did, it would be due to a total absence of personal hygiene. People infect people, not rats.

In the past decade there have been numerous confirmed cases of Red Tailed Hawks dying from rat poisoning. Obviously there is no way to prove that they ate rats poisoned by the Central Park Management, but the statistical probability is fairly high.

If most of the bait stations are lures why not go back to the tried and trusted system of live capture. It is a more labour intensive but far more accurate way to monitor the population without any danger to any other animal.


J Milford


May 18, 2011

Dear Mr Calvanese,

Can you provide me with the following;
* the name of the rodenticides which the Conservancy uses so I can determine from its manufacturer’s MSDS whether the ingredients do have least potential for “secondary kill effects” as you claim in your letter.
* the locations where these baiting stations are placed so I can determine whether or not they are placed in ‘known wildlife feeding and nesting areas‘.

It annoys me when you willfully veer blame away from the Conservancy at your convenience.

The request at the end of your letter to not have your correspondence distributed is unwarranted. The Central Park Conservancy is in the business of picking up garbage and mowing lawns so I cannot see any justification to have your letter to me kept private.
You are jeopardizing the lives of our highly valued wildlife and you make no effort to preserve them on your own. In fact you go out of your way constantly to torture and molest wild animals like Canada Geese and raccoons, even the harmless and innocent sparrows. You have shown over the years that you have no heart when it comes to wildlife. The Central Park Conservancy is a conniving and deceptive agency on several levels, one of which is your horrible attitude towards wild animals.


Lincoln Karim,
Park Patron


May 17, 2011

Mr. Lincoln Karim
204 West 55th Street #507A
New York, NY 10019

Dear Mr. Karim:

Thank you for your letter of May 9th regarding the use of rodenticides in Central Park.

Pest control measures in areas located within the immediate area surrounding the Boathouse are the responsibility of the restaurant concessionaire pursuant to its agreement with the City of New York, Department of Parks & Recreation (“Parks”). Similarly, pest control measures within the immediate area surrounding the Conservatory Water Snack Bar (referred to in your letter as the “Model Sailboat Pond Café”) are the responsibility of the snack bar concessionaire pursuant to its agreement with Parks. The Conservancy regularly consults with Parks' concessionaires to coordinate their pest control measures to ensure that their protocols are consistent with those employed by the Conservancy.

In areas of Central Park where the Conservancy is responsible for pest control, in instances of actual infestation which pose a risk to public health and safety, secured, limited-access, bait boxes are installed. These bait boxes contain minimal amounts of rodenticides with the least potential for “secondary kill effects”. They are regularly monitored by Conservancy personnel, and are not placed in known wildlife feeding and nesting areas which minimizes the risks to hawks as well as other predatory species. In addition, frequent trash removal throughout the Park reduces rodents' food supply, resulting in a significant rodent population decrease.

We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention.

Very truly yours,

Neil Calvanese
Vice President for Operations

Be Green: Keep it on Your Screen

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Thank you.


May 13, 2011:

The rodent baiting stations around the Boathouse Restaurant have not been removed thus far.

The Boathouse continues to dump garbage carelessly in their parking lot.

This is an ongoing problem which is not monitored or enforced.

Loeb Boathouse Restaurant:
tel. 212.517.2233

Lincoln Karim
204 W 55th Street #507A
New York, NY 10019

May 9, 2011

Douglas Blonsky

Central Park Conservancy,
14 E. 60th Street
New York NY 10022


Message link to Adrian Benepe.


Dear Sir:

Please remove all rodenticides from Central Park.

Contrary to your organization's past assurance that the rodenticides used within Central Park would have no effect on non-target wildlife, we have had recent fatalities around the city as a direct result of secondary poisoning from rodenticide use.

Please remove, without delay, all rodent baiting stations from Central Park. There are baiting stations in the following areas:

* along the fence in the Boathouse parking lot.
* on the ground between the Boathouse main entrance and the public restrooms.
* against the brick wall of the Boathouse Cafe outside seating area.
* In the flower garden at the front of the Model Sailboat Pond cafe (at 5th Ave & 74th Street).

Please instruct the park's contract exterminator to remove all rodenticide and other poisons including baiting stations, packets and all other methods of poison distribution.

Out of concern and worry for the welfare of wildlife Washington Square is removing rodenticide baiting stations: Wash Sq Rodenticide removal

If you still believe that my concern for rodenticide use in Central Park is exaggerated, please allow me to educate you with a piece of history which you may be able to relate to--it concerns another organization who were, like yourself, enthusiastic over the use of rodenticides;

Zyklon-B was a commercial rodenticide and pesticide in common use before World War II ...

If the Boathouse Restaurant really want to control rodents in an effective, responsible way I would suggest the disuse of all disposable products and begin using ceramics which can be washable.

I understand that the Boathouse Restaurant already has dishwashers in place to service wares for their dining area. This can be extended to the Cafe section also. A tremendous amount of needless waste can be avoided if they stopped using paper and plastic disposable products which is largely responsible for attracting rats.

Lincoln Karim
Central Park patron.

Central Park Conservancy,

Loeb Boathouse Restaurant:
tel. 212.517.2233

Message link to Adrian Benepe.