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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Rescuers’ duck quest succeeds after six months

A sick duck that defied animal rescuers for six months has at last been caught and taken away to a wildlife hospital for treatment.

The male mallard was first spotted at Ashtead Pond back in the spring and was seen to have a large growth to the side of his beak. Paramedics from the Wildlife Aid Foundation’s animal hospital in Randalls Road, Leatherhead were called out to retrieve him and treat what was at first thought to be a tumour. But time and again, every attempt to get the drake failed as he flew away as soon as his would-be rescuers approached him.

Then, a few days ago, the Wildlife Aid Foundation’s rescue team – charity founder Simon Cowell MBE, together with vet nurse Lucy Kells and her husband Sean – managed to grab the drake (though this involved Sean having to wade into the muddy pond up to his neck!) and they have been able to bring him into the hospital for examination and treatment. It was only possible to catch him at last because he had become very weak recently due to the increasing seriousness of his sickness.

Back at the hospital, a thorough examination and x-ray revealed that the growth on the mallard’s face was not a tumour but a swelling caused by the infection from a large fish-hook lodged inside his mouth. He will be operated on this week, and Simon and the team are hopeful he will be able to recover from this nasty injury – although it is likely he will need a long period of rehabilitation at the Wildlife Aid Foundation’s hospital.

“I’m so glad we caught him at last, as the x-ray shows very clearly what a major problem he’s had these past few months,” says Simon. “We can only guess at the terrible pain he must have been in all this time, without anyone to help him. Seeing this huge fishing hook stuck inside the drake’s mouth is a reminder that the biggest danger faced by wildlife is, as usual, from Man.”

The Foundation is open 24/7 and deals with some 20,000 wildlife emergencies every year. For more information go to
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:43 pm  

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