In the streets, in parks, on trees; squirrels in New York seem to be everywhere. Their exact numbers, especially in Central Park, have long been a mystery. However, thanks to the recently released Squirrel Census, Eastern gray squirrels in Central Park have all been accounted for. This fall, more than 300 volunteers took to the park to count all the Eastern gray squirrels that populate the area. According to their findings, Central Park is home to an estimated 2,373 squirrels.
Squirrel Census Field Commander Josh O’Connor saw Central Park as the research group’s “moon mission.” The Squirrel Census began on October 6th, 2018 and ended on October 20th, 2018. The goal was to get an accurate count of squirrel populations across all 843 acres of Central Park. Volunteers were assigned to study an area of three hectares for a two-hour shift, tallying each squirrel as well as their behavioral patterns.
Image Courtesy of the Squirrel Census
This is the first ever definitive count of Eastern gray squirrels in New York City’s most famous green space. The results of the census show that Central Park is a “healthy and typical place to be a squirrel.” According to census creator Jamie Allen, the population is always in flux, but this number is as close as researchers have to a precise reading on squirrel populations. “If we were able to count all the squirrels all at once in a single day in Central Park, the next day that number might change,” Allen said.
The census report is for sale with a bundled package of other Central Park squirrel materials. The package includes “one of the most comprehensive maps of Central Park ever made,” its first major update since 1994, and a five-foot long “celestial” chart showing squirrel locations, population densities, fur patterns, and other data, a 45-RPM experiential soundtrack of the park using notes gathered during the Census and read by Squirrel Sighters and the Squirrel Census team, and post cards of the city critters.
See how many squirrels you can find on one of our upcoming The Secrets of Central Park Walking Tours!