January 5, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Swan lake! Crippled cygnet saved in Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Paper
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It was nearly curtains for Groucho the swan on Monday — but two Prospect Park advocates saved the creature from becoming duck soup.

The sorry cygnet — a young swan — managed to get a fishing hook buried deep in its mouth, a predicament experts say would have spelled doom for the bird as it would have been unable to eat.

A friend called park advocate Ed Bahlman late on Monday with the news, and he and wildlife rehabilitator Anne-Katrin Titze were at the lake first thing Tuesday morning, armed with moxie and a set of needle-nosed pliers.

Using cobra-like quickness, Bahlman was able to extract the bird from the water with his bare hands. Titze then used the tool to gingerly dislodge the hook.

“You have to be very calm,” Bahlman said of the extractions. “The bird has to trust you.”

The duo dubbed the bird Groucho because a piece of wood was caught up in the fishing line and dangling from the bird’s beak, reminiscent of the comedian’s trademark cigar.

As in the past, the culprits in this case appear to be outlaw fishers using barbed hooks, forbidden in the park. It is illegal to harm park wildlife, so fishermen rarely report their misdeeds, intentional or accidental, leaving waterfowl lovers to save the birds on an ad hoc basis.

Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Eugene Patron said Parks Department officers can issue summonses for fishing with barbed hooks, but he was unsure to what extent these officers patrol in the winter months.

If you see an injured animal, you should call 311 or tell Parks personnel, Patron said.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Liz from WT says:
Save the geese and the swans and the ducks and the coots and...
Jan. 5, 2011, 8:23 am
Daffy from Ditmas Park says:
Save da whales
Jan. 5, 2011, 8:59 am
Caroline from Park Slope says:
We love these swans - Achilles, Groucho and family. Thanks Brooklyn Paper for keeping us informed about their well-, or not-so-well-being!
As Groucho said: “time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana”!
Jan. 5, 2011, 11:06 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Thank you, Brooklyn Paper for once again shining the light on the cruelties to animals that occur in Prospect Park almost on a daily basis.

Between the dumping of mutilated animals, goose gassings and fishing hooks and lines entangled around waterfowl, Prospect Park truly is a "Meadow of Shame."

Please keep up the exposes.
Jan. 5, 2011, 11:20 am
Colin from Windsor Terrace says:
Ed Bahlman and Anne-Katrin Titze are wonderful! Thank you for coming to the rescue once again.
Jan. 5, 2011, Noon
Marjorie from PH says:
They really need to get a handle on this and the treatment of wildlife should be a top prioroty with the new administrator.

The little wildlife we have in the park should be allowed to live freely and safely. The recreational activities of fishing and barbecuing needs to be monitored more closely if not banned altogether.

Jan. 5, 2011, 12:37 pm
Deb from Ditmas says:
Just wondering - how many tickets for barbed hooks have been given out in the entire history of the park? I suspect zero.
Jan. 5, 2011, 1:48 pm
betty from manhattan says:
Long live Groucho! Naming the swans is helping to protect them. Didn't one nameless cygnet die during the fishing contest in the park in 2009 and nobody said anything?
Jan. 5, 2011, 2:41 pm
Michele from Kensington says:
Thank you Anne-Katrin and Ed for once again saving a creature in danger of death due to the chronic neglect, failure to enforce laws against using barbed hooks, and uncaring attitude of the Prospect Park Alliance and the Park Administrator. We can only hope that the new Administrator will have greater environmental awareness, and a more compassion than the previous one.

Jan. 5, 2011, 3:45 pm
Elke from Clinton Hill says:
Well done. Thanks to Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlmann water fowl in Prospect Park is being rescued once again by concerned and caring citizens who rise to the occasion while park officials do not.
Jan. 5, 2011, 9:49 pm
isabel from williamsburg says:
anne-katrin titze is so cool!! cygnets are the best!!!!
Jan. 6, 2011, 8:37 am
JV from Park Slope says:
How is Achilles doing? I loved the videos, Brooklyn Paper! Thanks
Jan. 6, 2011, 10:46 am
LuLu from Los Angeles says:
What is wrong with the park there in Brooklyn. Can't someone clean it up? This just goes on and on.....and if you see an injured bird, don't call the parks department or 311....get ahold of Ed or Anne!
Jan. 6, 2011, 4:28 pm
Walker from Park Slope says:
The Prospect Park Alliance and the Parks Department could be saluting these two volunteers who make a diffence.
Tupper Thomas, as one of your last deeds as president - Invite these two rescuers to be honored by you and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe for all the actions they have done for you and on behalf of our city's wildlife.
Jan. 7, 2011, 11:44 am
Christine/Spencer from Windsor Terrace says:
We have seen this couple rescue waterfowl without fanfare for years at Prospect Park Lake.
It is about time that they be officially recognized for their achievements by those reputed to be in charge. They have worked with the rangers when asked to be of help and have tirelessly showed their commitment to all who love Prospect Park.
Jan. 7, 2011, 11:53 am
John from Park Slope says:
Prospect Park is in dire need of being rescued from those who have allowed the abuses to go unchecked.
A good first step would be to acknowledge the work done by these two individuals.
Jan. 7, 2011, 12:42 pm

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