Urban Park Rangers rescue domestic ducks illegally dumped in pond in Flushing’s Bowne Park – QNS.com


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By Gabriele Holtermann

Don’t throw house ducks in New York City parks – or any animals for that matter. That was the message NYC Urban Park Rangers and activists from the “They All Want to Live” relief organization had for New York City residents in Flushing on Friday, December 11.

Rangers and activists came to the rescue of 11 domestic ducks that were illegally dumped into a pond in Flushing’s Bowne Park in mid-November. NYCLASS Executive Director Edita Birnkrant and New York State Wildlife Rehabilitator Mary Beth Artz suspect that a street vendor who tried to sell ducks outside the Maple Playground in Flushing threw the group of water birds into the pond.

With the locals watching and under the watchful eye of the wild geese that inhabit the pond, the rescue operation was surprisingly swift. The team of park rangers in canoes and volunteers – some of them wearing waders braving the cold water of the pond – penned the ducks to safe shores. Once the ducks were directed to an enclosure set up by the pond, they were captured with nets and placed in pet cages.

Unlike wild geese and ducks, domestic ducks cannot survive in the wild. Unable to fly due to their large bodies and small wings, the ducks of Bowne Park were at risk of succumbing to the elements, predators, or starving once the mercury dropped below 32 degrees and the pond froze over. .

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Artz, who has been rescuing ducks for years, has noticed an increase in illegal dumping of ducks over the past eight months and believes the COVID-19 pandemic may be the cause.

“We have rescued ducks nonstop for the past eight months since the start of the pandemic,” Artz said. “We’ve been doing this for many years, but this year in particular, because people are at home, you can buy ducklings online. They mail them out and people pick them up at the post office. Once the novelty of the ducklings, the fuzzy and cute scene fades away, they are incredibly difficult to take care of in an apartment or house.

“I don’t think it’s malicious,” Artz continued. “They don’t realize that [the ducks] are domesticated and cannot survive in the wild like the mallard. So they think it’s a good thing they are doing by throwing them to be free in a pond. It is a death sentence.

Bonny McGuire, director of NYC Urban Park Rangers, agreed.

“It certainly happened before the pandemic, but we’ve seen a slight increase since the pandemic happened,” McGuire said.

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

McGuire took the opportunity to remind New Yorkers that pets have no place in public parks.

“If you have any pet, snake, dog, cat, turtle, duck, don’t take them to the park. It’s not a place for them, ”she said. “It won’t be good for them or the environment.”

The rescued ducks were taken to Goose Pond Mountain, an animal sanctuary in Goshen, New York, where they will be as “happy as a duck in New York” living in a predator-proof enclosure with kiddie pools. in summer.

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