In the midst of New York’s bustling chaos, there exists a remarkable tale that has captured the hearts of Staten Island’s residents. It’s a story of an extraordinary creature, a colossal snapping turtle affectionately known as Shnappy. He has called Clove Lakes Park home for longer than anyone can remember.
However, recent events have left Staten Islanders deeply concerned – Shnappy and his equally impressive companion, Jeffrey, have mysteriously vanished. This has left behind a cloud of speculation and unease.
Two weeks ago, the Staten Island community was shaken by the sudden disappearance of Shnappy and Jeffrey. These massive reptiles, with Shnappy weighing a whopping 50 pounds, had been iconic fixtures of Clove Lakes Park for decades. Yet, their whereabouts have become a baffling enigma, igniting a storm of rumors and conspiracy theories.
Suspicions of Poaching: A Troubling Notion
One prevailing theory that has gripped the locals is the suspicion of poaching. Some believe that heartless poachers may have abducted Shnappy and Jeffrey with the intention of turning them into turtle soup. However, this remains pure speculation, as no evidence or turtle thieves were captured on the park’s security cameras.
A Park in Peril: Protecting Wildlife
Gregg McQueen, the spokesperson for the Parks Department, acknowledges the community’s concerns. He stated, “Anecdotally, we are aware that community members have discussed turtles allegedly being removed from this park, but we have not witnessed this occurring.” McQueen emphasized the importance of preserving wildlife in New York’s parks and green spaces. He stated “Wildlife plays an important role in our city’s ecosystem, and it is vital that we do all we can to protect the animals that inhabit our city’s parks and green spaces. It is illegal to remove, harm, or kill animals in parks. If New Yorkers see this activity, they should call 911.”
Shnappy and Jeffrey: Beloved Icons of Staten Island
The disappearance of Shnappy and Jeffrey has left an emotional void in Staten Island’s heart. These colossal turtles were more than just inhabitants of the park. They were beloved icons, cherished by locals and visitors alike.
Shnappy’s Colorful Past
Shnappy, was between 50 to 75 years old, according to reports from the New York Post. Apart from his impressive size, Shnappy was known for his unique mating habits. His union with Jeffrey was said to produce sounds reminiscent of the “crack of a baseball” hitting a bat, as reported by the city’s infamous tabloid, known more for its celebrity scandals than turtle affairs. The Parks Department concluded that Shnappy and Jeffrey were likely a couple due to their consistent companionship.
Urban Foraging on the Rise
Apart from turtles and clams, foraging for edible plants and fungi in the city’s parks has seen a surge in interest. “Wildman” Steve Brill, a vegan who leads foraging tours of Central Park, has witnessed an increase in participation, with as many as 100 people joining his expeditions. This uptick in urban nature exploration reflects a growing fascination with the environment, nature, and ecology.
A Clear Distinction: Protecting Amphibious Reptiles
While park officials may tolerate mushroom foraging to some extent, the poaching of amphibious reptiles like turtles remains a grave concern. “I’ve not seen anyone hunting for animals in the parks,” affirms Steve Brill. It must be very rare and very bad people. They can come on my tours and get all the renewable herbs, weeds, berries, nuts, mushrooms, and dandelions they need. If people are poaching animals, it’s all new to me.”
The tale of Shnappy’s disappearance has unearthed not only the deep affection Staten Island holds for its wildlife, but ongoing challenges of preserving these precious creatures. The mystery of Shnappy’s whereabouts continues to perplex the community. It has ignited a renewed commitment to safeguarding the city’s wildlife. Staten Island remains hopeful that Shnappy and Jeffrey will return to their beloved home, Clove Lakes Park, and that the bonds between humans and nature will grow even stronger in the face of adversity.