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August 4, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Meadows of Shame

Swan down! This cygnet is the catch of the day

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about the ugly duckling!

Prospect Park’s swans were under attack this weekend as two adults and two cygnets were found with fishing hooks in their beaks and lines around their legs.

“The swans couldn’t fly,” said Ed Bahlman, one of two swan enthusiasts who led the rescue effort. “The injuries had to be dealt with immediately.”

It all started on Monday morning, when Bahlman and partner Anne-Katrin Titze learned of the injured swans and sprang into action.

Bahlman first cut loose Ziggy, a swan who was trapped in the reeds along the lakeshore with a fishing line around its legs.

“It probably had a day [to live] if it wasn’t found,” said Bahlman.

The pair didn’t wait for the Urban Park Rangers to arrive before also rescuing two cygnets — baby swans — with fishing hooks lodged in their beaks. The rangers eventually showed up, but without any nets. After a few hapless attempts to wrangle the last swan — affectionately known as Honey Bear — who’s upper left leg had been hooked, the rangers left, vowing to return the next day.

Finally on Tuesday, the rangers arrived at the lake — nets in hand — and freed the water fowl, which just minutes later could be seen triumphantly flying above the lake, giving park-goers a thrill.

“We had four successful outcomes,” said Bahlman.

The culprits in this incident appear to be outlaw fishers, as barbed hooks — which are forbidden in the park — were found in some of the swans.

It is illegal to injure birds, which could be the reason that fishermen rarely report such incidents.

Eugene Patron, a spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance, said that the park has tried to make fishermen more aware of the rules.

This certainly wasn’t the first time that man and bird clashed at the park’s lake. In June, a goose was found with an arrow in its neck. And just weeks ago, federal agents exterminated about 250 park geese in the name of aviation safety.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jen Jie from South Slope says:
Many thanks to all the rescuers! We sure needed a little bit of good news for the wildlife around the lake.
Aug. 4, 2010, 9:44 am
Kristy from WT says:
Great job you guys did! You are the eyes, ears and hearts for the wildlife.
Aug. 4, 2010, 12:08 pm
bonita from PLG says:
Great work. Why can't the park people who are paid be as on top of things as Anne and Ed?
Aug. 4, 2010, 3:40 pm
Moshe Aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
Dear God up above,. Please fill every heart. With compassion and love. ...Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem
Aug. 4, 2010, 6:18 pm
Thomas from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
Words of wisdom from Moshe Aron.
So true.

Nature speaks, we need to listen..
Aug. 5, 2010, 2:05 pm
sheila from plg says:
Unbelievable that catch and release is seen as sport. STOP the FISHING - it is CRUEL and mindless.
Aug. 5, 2010, 4:52 pm
John from Park Slope says:
Park Commissioner Benepe, please reach out to congratulate Ms. Titze and Mr. Bahlman for their rescues of the swans from fishing related injuries. We need you to lead the way and show the community of Prospect Park lovers that you care about the wildlife. There is almost no enforcement and fishing rules are nowhere to be found.
Aug. 6, 2010, 9:44 am
Caroline from Windsor Terrace says:
The silence of the parks is deafening when it comes to acknowledging those who give their time to protect and safeguard the wildlife we are lucky enough to have left.
Tupper Thomas on NY1 claimed to care about the swans. Tupper, it makes sense to encourage others who care enough to take action by showing your appreciation personally and honoring the rescuers in this article.
Aug. 6, 2010, 9:55 am
Karl from Prospect Heights says:
The rescues of these swans is an effort worth congratulating. All the responsible and caring people who enjoy the only lake in Brooklyn can rejoice, that we did not lose more life and give our heartfelt thanks to those who intervened on behalf of the swans.
Aug. 6, 2010, 10:13 am
Michael / Joan from Windsor Terrace says:
We who visit the lake do not understand the lack of care shown by the Prospect Park Alliance towards the protection of the wildlife and their habitat at the lake.
The Alliance has taken no action to abate the ongoing harm being done by irresponsible fishing practices.
The first step in the right direction would be to recognize Mr. Bahlman and Ms. Titze for their success. We have seen them discourage others from abusing the environment and it has made us follow their lead.
Thank you
Aug. 6, 2010, 10:36 am
Chris from Windsor Terrace says:
I could not agree more with the comments above. For years it was hopeless to get a response from Parks or the Alliance when it involved injured animals in the park. Hours went by and rarely did anyone show up. By then it was a meaningless gesture by an unhappy employee.
We need these two advocates shown the proper respect.
Raise a glass in tribute -
Aug. 6, 2010, 10:46 am
Dan from Park Slope says:
The injuries suffered by the swans are definitely done without care for their safety. Hooking an upper beak or leg is not self-inflicted. This was done to do harm and there is no other way to explain the acts than to call it criminal. Abusing animals in Prospect Park is not taken seriously as a crime. Get those Urban Park Rangers out of the vans they drive and put them on foot patrol around the lake for the rest of the summer.
Sarah Aucoin make a statement of thanks to all involved.
Aug. 6, 2010, 11:16 am
Jennifer from Park Slope says:
The Urban Park Rangers are suppose to be out at the lake preventing harm to wildlife. When a pattern of assaults on animals occurs it is time to rearrange your priorities. Start enforcing and stop avoiding responsibility. You are never seen stopping illegal actions in the park.
Let us never forget Target, the Canada Goose who suffered the crossbow arrow attack.
Aug. 6, 2010, 11:36 am
Henry from Windsor Terrace says:
There is an inexcusable tolerance of shameful behavior in and around Prospect Park Lake. The park workers seem disinterested and are never seen walking the lake's bank looking out for problems.
Without these two caring human beings initiating action, all would be lost and the abusers would win once again.
Aug. 6, 2010, 11:50 am
Jim from Windsor Terrace says:
The Prospect Park Alliance is not functioning. There is an undercurrent of malaise and no oversight.
Aug. 7, 2010, 10:59 am
moshe aron kestenbaum from williamsburg ODA says:
Prospect alliance is a sham, they take money from the goverment to bid the local political hunchos an amen , its like ok boss whatever you say disband now
Aug. 8, 2010, 3:55 pm
Hank from Prospect Heights says:
The Prospect Park Alliance has not lived up to its purpose for being founded. The existing park is in advanced decline and the Alliance's leader Tupper Thomas is fooling less and less people. Her inability to acknowledge the decay, makes her the parks biggest contributor of abuse.
She acts foolishly, NY1, while demeaning the efforts of others, including the Prospect Park workers. A change is long overdue.
Aug. 9, 2010, 10:03 am
Thomas from Park Slope says:
Do not under overlook the harm of having no enforcement of the rules in Prospect Park. The Alliance, for even the casual visitor, comes across as being unable to recognize what is and what is not getting done.
There is an imbalance so obvious, that priorities must be changed immediately.
This is unacceptable. The lack of day-to-day care is appalling and there appears to be no long term understanding on how to deal with the years of neglect.
Aug. 9, 2010, 11:12 am

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