A photographer made an unusual find near the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center on Thursday: a tropical animal called a kinkajou lounging in a tree.
Not knowing what it was, lensman Cesar Castillo on Friday sent an email out to the birding community via the NYSBirds-L listserv, with a link to the photo he took and had posted to Flickr.
Later it was determined that it must be a kinkajou because olingos do not have prehensile tails — that is, tails that can be used for grasping things, such as food or tree branches.
The Queens Chronicle informed volunteer wildlife rescuers Cathy and Bobby Horvath of the discovery and forwarded Castillo’s photo to them. The Horvaths operate a service called WINORR, Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation, in North Massapequa, LI. Bobby Horvath is a firefighter with the FDNY, and the couple often takes in wild animals found in the city.
Cathy Horvath said the animal must have been dumped there, and that she and her husband would go check it out and determine how best to capture it. And she offered words of caution to anyone who might come across the kinkajou.
“They’re a little bit fresh,” she said. “If they’re not tame, they’re a little bit bitey. They look soft and cuddly, but they can mess you up.”