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Survey Under Way To Tally All Of Central Park’s Animal, Plant Species

More Than 800 Species Were Counted In Last Census In 2003
Queens College biology professor John Waldman (C) takes part in a Central Park plant and animal survey, August 27, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Queens College biology professor John Waldman (C) takes part in a Central Park plant and animal survey, August 27, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A census of sorts is being conducted in Central Park.

Hundreds of scientists and college students have been in the 150-year-old park since Monday afternoon counting as many plants and animals as they can find in a 24-hour span.

“To think that I’m looking at skyscrapers and handling turtles and large-mouth bass is an amazing aspect of urban nature,” Queens College biology professor John Waldman told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

Wearing waders, Waldman went through a net full of green slime and found a turtle and a crawfish.

“I’ve just been impressed with the health of these ponds. These look like ponds that could be up in the country somewhere,” the professor, who’s leading the fish team, told Silverman.

Prof. John Waldman holds a crawfish found in a pond in Central Park, August 27, 2013. Hundreds of volunteers are conducting a census of the plants and animals in the park (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Prof. John Waldman holds a crawfish found in a pond in Central Park, August 27, 2013. Hundreds of volunteers are conducting a census of the plants and animals in the park (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

The Central Park census project is a requirement for some students.

“There are pets that people have had that they release back into the water,” Macaulay Honors College at CUNY student Lauren Selig explained.

Volunteers have split into teams to track a whole host flora and fauna.

“There are bird teams, there are lichen teams,” Terri Carta with the Central Park Conservancy told Silverman.

There is also a bat team that surveyed the 843-acre park overnight.

The first and only plant and wildlife survey of the park was conducted in 2003.

“There were just under 800 different species found,” said Carta.

She said she’s confident more creatures will be counted in this census.

The results of the census are expected this fall.

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