Around the 1990s, wildlife managers across North America started getting strange calls. Coyotes were trotting through city streets where they had never existed before. Bears were peeking inside living rooms. Raccoons seemed to be even peskier, easily getting into trash cans that had once thwarted them. Such species, it seemed, had discovered city and suburban living, and liked it. This is about a growing phenomenon of bold, scrappy carnivores that are learning to live, often quietly and undetected, among us.

So what happened? A confluence of factors came together to boost their populations, such as a dramatic decline in hunting, the explosion of resource-rich suburbs post-WWII, and destruction of native habitat due to urbanization.

Many of these urban survivors are thriving in greater numbers per square mile than their rural cousins—making it likely that these “cosmopolitan carnivores” are here to stay.

These photographs by Corey Arnold use a combination of camera traps and handheld cameras to show us where these animals live, navigate, and intersect with us. Arnold and writer Christine Dell’Amore teamed up with scientists and wildlife experts to gain local access and knowledge to better understand these urban populations.

Artist Bios

  • Corey Arnold

    National Geographic Explorer Corey Arnold is a photographer and commercial fisherman exploring mankind’s complicated relationship with nature. His recent work documents how urban wildlife such as raccoons, coyotes, and bears are adapting to the human landscape in America. Arnold’s work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and museums worldwide, and his photography has been featured in Harper’s Magazine, the New Yorker, New York Times, National Geographic, Time, Outside, Smithsonian, and the Paris Review, among others. Arnold is based in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, where he’s teaching his toddlers the fine art of rural animal tracking.


  • National Geographic

    National Geographic

    Established in 1888, National Geographic is a trusted print and digital publication offering stories that illuminate, inspire, and reveal. Our mission is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultures, the sciences, and the natural world. We advance that mission by creating visually stunning, richly reported photojournalism and distinguished, impartial coverage of the globe’s most pressing issues. National Geographic (@natgeo) has more than 284 million followers.

  • NYC Parks

    NYC Parks

    NYC Parks is the steward of more than 30,000 acres of land — 14 percent of New York City — including more than 5,000 individual properties ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens  and Greenstreets. We operate more than 800 athletic fields and nearly 1,000 playgrounds, 1,800 basketball courts, 550 tennis courts, 65 public pools, 51 recreational facilities, 15 nature centers, 14 golf courses, and 14 miles of beaches. We care for 1,200 monuments and 23 historic house museums. We look after 600,000 street trees, and two million more in parks. We are New York City’s principal providers of recreational and athletic facilities and programs. We are home to free concerts, world-class sports events, and cultural festivals.

Urban Wildlife

 archive : 2023

Featuring: Corey Arnold

Presented by: National Geographic
  • National Geographic
  • NYC Parks


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