Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No Help for Fishing Line Goose at Harlem Meer

Fishing line and tackle ensnared around mouth and bill of suffering goose at Harlem Meer. Dana Center's response?  "The geese shouldn't be here in the first place!"
Fisherman yesterday in "off limits" area of Harlem Meer.
Wiggly and Romeo at Harlem Meer.  "Let them eat ice" was attitude of Dana Center last winter. 
 I should apologize for my naivete and "rose colored glasses" thinking when writing yesterday's blog entry.

At one point, I expressed "hope" that the goose at Harlem Meer suffering for more than a week with ensnared fishing line around bill was able to free him/herself from the potentially fatal obstruction.

But, that is not possible from the photo taken yesterday and posted in comment to this blog.

In a week's time the line has obviously tightened substantially around the goose's bill and the fake fish is now dangling very close to her mouth.

Alarmed and angry when seeing the latest photo, I again called the Park Rangers (and left a message), as well as the Dana Discovery Center.

The attitude of the people at the Dana Center is particularly disturbing.

"Why didn't the person taking the photo grab and bring the goose to us?" I was asked.   

Apparently, people visiting Central Park are not only expected to pick up discarded fishing lines around the lake, but also rescue injured wildlife as a result of the fishing.  This is like expecting anti-smokers to pick up cigarette butts in the streets or pedestrians to rescue accident victims of car wrecks.

I explained to the man from the Dana Center that I did not personally know the person taking the photographs and it would not be the job of an average citizen to attempt rescue of injured wildlife in Central Park.

"Well, the geese shouldn't be here in the first place." was the callous and smug reply. "It's people like you who feed them who are responsible for them being here!" 

"First of all, Sir, I have never even seen the maimed goose and secondly, the fishermen break rules all the time and you turn a blind eye.  Fishermen go over fences and fish in off limit areas.  They discard fishing tackle all over the Meer and cripple wildlife.  This is in fact, not the first animal injured from fishing line at the Meer and won't be the last.  Is the goal here to get rid of all the wildlife and turn the entire Meer over to fishermen?"

Considering there are pitifully few geese and ducks at Harlem Meer these days, the suggestion that I was somehow "responsible" for this injured goose from fishing line was appalling, insulting and downright false.  Talk about "passing the buck" and trying to shirk all responsibility for the dire conditions of wildlife at Harlem Meer on others!  (Including the mallard with broken wing who has been in that condition for more than a month at the Meer.)

Then again, I should not have been surprised with such defensive and ignorant response from the Dana Center.

Last January, when the lake was nearly entirely frozen over at the Meer and the six domestic ducks were stranded on a tiny pool of open water, I was admonished and yelled at by probably this same gentleman from the Dana Center for feeding the domestic ducks cracked corn.

"Don't you see the signs?" He sneered.  "You are not supposed to feed wildlife!"

"These are NOT wildlife!" I shot back.  "These are domestic ducks who cannot fly!  They are stranded on frozen lake!"

Then, pointing to Romeo, the mallard drake companion to Wiggly, the man shouted. "You see over there?  THAT is a wild mallard!"

Yes, it seems that the people at the Dana Center would like to see all the waterfowl, including the six domestic ducks perish at Harlem Meer.

It should only be a place for tormenting fish.

Finally, to the person who posted the two photos in comments to this blog: 

Thank you for caring, photographing and trying to get help for this suffering goose.

Unfortunately, I have not seen the goose at all, though I have been to the Meer everyday and at different times.

Please contact me the next time you see the goose and if you can, please let us know if this goose is able to eat:    Patty (212) 427-8273.

It seems that some of us are going to have to plan a rescue.

But, we have to know when the goose is there and if s/he is in same place consistently.

Thank you.  -- PCA



Anonymous said...

You may want to try contacting NY Audubon if the goose is located--I believe they do water rescues. Feeding wildlife is selfish on our part (except in cases of rehabbing)in that it serves for our self-gratification (wild animals are not our children, pets, etc,), but is detrimental to them. Central Park can be dangerous place for humans, so certainly for nonhumans. Those domestic ducks need a home or sanctuary.

PCA said...

The problem, as written, is that the injured goose is capable of flying and though I have personally been to the Meer everyday since notified of this goose, I have yet to see her.

I have been critical of the Dana Center because they rent out fishing equipment and welcome the activity. Moreover, they are on site and only have to look out the window to know when this goose is there. They have been completely indifferent and even hostile to this suffering goose -- suffering as result of the activity they encourage and promote.

It is true that there is plenty of natural food in parks for waterfowl most times of the year and human treats are not needed.

However, when it is the dead of winter, lakes are frozen over and there are waterfowl that cannot fly, they need help and support.

Of course the domestic ducks should be at a sanctuary or home, but reality seems to be there are not enough santuaries or homes for all the domestic birds who need them -- just as there are not enough no kill shelters and homes for all the homeless cats and dogs.

I have written about and photographed domestic ducks at Harlem Meer for some years now and no one has offered them a home.