Keep Wildlife Wild

A fox kit peers out of its den

NPS Photo/Ke Qiang Ruan, 2015 Fire Island Photo Contest Entry

 

Fire Island Wildlife

Have you ever discovered a seal basking on the winter shore? Have you seen a northern harrier gliding above the lush backdune landscape, rising high and dipping low among the shrubs in search of its small mammal prey? On Fire Island you can!

Fire Island's diverse marine and terrestrial habitats support a wide variety of wildlife. More than 330 bird species, 30 species of mammals, and 30 species of reptiles and amphibians visit or live within Fire Island National Seashore. Viewing wildlife can be enjoyable and can make time spent on Fire Island even more memorable. Please do so responsibly by helping to "keep wildlife wild."

Keep Wildlife Wild

Our behavior can affect wildlife. In order to keep wildlife wild and to protect them and ourselves, it is important not to disturb them or interfere with their activities.

Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife can change their natural behaviors. This is even true of inadvertent food sources like garbage or unsecured food items. Gulls, for example, can become "food-conditioned" and may look for food near snack bars or garbage cans.

Food-conditioning can lead to undesirable and potentially unsafe human-wildlife interactions. For example, wild animals that visit a food source in groups are at greater risk of predation and disease. Food-conditioned wildlife may also be more likely to become entangled in fencing, approach us, or be struck by a vehicle when in search of food.

When alarmed, a wild animal may scratch, kick, or bite, and injure those who come too close. Be sure to maintain a safe distance when viewing wildlife.

How You Can Help:

  • Observe wildlife from a distance.
  • Secure your food and beverages.
  • Properly dispose of garbage; carry-in, carry-out at National Park Service facilities on Fire Island.
  • Do not touch or feed wildlife.
  • Respect wildlife closure areas.
 

If You Care, Leave Them There

When we find a wild animal behaving oddly or in an unexpected place, we may think it is diseased or abandoned when in fact it is neither lost nor sick. Young animals, like fawns, may be alone for hours while their parents search for food; some animals, like the piping plover, feign injury to deter predators; and wildlife often survive superficial wounds like bites and scratches. In these situations it is best to let wildlife be because we may cause them undue stress by approaching or handling them.

Report a Sighting

If a wild animal appears to be injured, keep your distance and take a moment to assess the situation. Your observations will be helpful to authorities if you decide to contact them. Please see below who to call to report a sighting.

Injured Wildlife in Fire Island Communities:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
631-444-0310

Stranded Marine Animals:
The Riverhead Foundation's 24-hour Stranding Hotline
631-369-9829

Injured Wildlife at the Fire Island Lighthouse, Sailors Haven, Watch Hill, or Wilderness:

Fire Island National Seashore Dispatch
570-426-2457

Last updated: January 20, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

120 Laurel Street
Patchogue, NY 11772

Phone:

(631) 687-4750

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