September 2, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Birders save swan in Prospect Park!

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Photo gallery

HOOK, LINE, SINKER: Here’s how Achilles looked on Thursday morning when animal lovers Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman found him (her?).
STEADY, BOY: Bahlman holds down Achilles as Titze prepares to extract the hook.
OPEN WIDE: Titze gives Achilles the Doolittle treatment.
THERE THERE: Bahlman calms down the treated bird.
THANKS, DOC: The newly freed Achilles gives a winged tribute to her (his?) rescuers.
HOOK, LINE AND STINKER: Yes, this was in the bird’s mouth.
A QUIET NORMAL LIFE: Now, Achilles is back and better than ever, flying over Prospect Park with his (her?) pals.

Talk about an Achilles beak!

As our slideshow (above) shows, wildlife lovers Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman, regulars in these pages, made a heroic rescue of a beloved swan yesterday after the bird swallowed a fish hook.

Titze and Bahlman, who have long crusaded against illegal fishing in the park, said they discovered the waterfowl — whom they’ve named Achilles after the almost-indestructable Greek mythological figure — at around 9 am.

The bird was unable to drink or feed because of the hook, and attached line, inside his (her?) mouth.

Fortunately, Titze is a trained wildlife rehabilitator — and she seems to always have a pair of needle-nose pliers handy. Within minutes, with Bahlman serving as nurse, Titze had removed the pernicious plug.

“It was so deep into Achilles’s upper palate that Ed had to turn Achilles over so I could get a firm grip,” Titze told us. “The bird was in a great deal of pain.”

Within minutes after the surgery, the bird was back on her (his?) feet and flying away.

“We watched in amazement” as Achilles flew off to fight another day, Titze said.

Updated 5:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

PattyA from Manhattan says:
Thanks to Ed and Anne-Katrin for once again having to rescue wildlife ensnared in fishing line or crippled by fishing hooks.

But, truly this is getting tiresome and disgraceful.

Where is the PP leadership in addressing this perpetual animal cruelty?

Since the caught fish are supposed to be thrown back in the water anyway, what is the purpose of the so-called "recreational fishing?

It is not for human food or survival. And one fails to see the "recreational" value of harassing all the wildlife and maiming some.

Truly disgusting.
Sept. 2, 2011, 6:11 am
Bonita from Highland Park says:
Maybe we should do a mass mailing of pictures of tortured animals to the Prospect Park Alliance. It's really unbelievable that this swan has now been saved twice!
Sept. 2, 2011, 11:28 am
Chris from Windsor Terrace says:
There's no enforcement of even the most common sense regulations when it comes to caring for Prospect Park.
Fishing is one of the many abuses on the environment. Show you care!
Sept. 2, 2011, 1:12 pm
johnny boy from windsor terrace says:
the alliance is just another group of political disappointees .
Sept. 2, 2011, 2:12 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
The Alliance is out of touch and drags its collective feet whenever it is called upon to act.
Sept. 2, 2011, 4 pm
johnny boy from windsor terrace says:
the alliances only function is rai$ing money.
Sept. 2, 2011, 4:14 pm
a person from Park Slope says:
The Alliance will form a committee with the agenda of choosing a committee as to what color the signs should be.
Sept. 3, 2011, 3:37 am
Kim from Prospect Heights says:
It's all too believable if you walk around Prospect Park. There's no visible enforcement walking around keeping an eye out for abuses that go on inside the park.
Sept. 3, 2011, 5:39 am
spence from manhattan says:
a big thanks to the rescuers!
Sept. 3, 2011, 7:06 am
Linda Smigelski from Jersey City says:
The people who care need to be enforcers of the law. Killing and hurting animals is NOT allowed...If one should ever catch somebody harming an animal you have to take action.
Sept. 3, 2011, 9:26 am
Gary from Park Slope says:
How many more of these injuries does it take? Put up signs and do change the fishing policy!!!!
Sept. 3, 2011, 10:21 am
adrienne from south slope says:
Please get more enforcement. My son loves the swans and the cygnets and so do I. I'm anxious sometimes to visit them because you never know what injuries you might find. This cruelty has to stop.
Sept. 3, 2011, 10:54 am
Harrison from Park Slope says:
The Alliance must respond to legitimate concerns park visitors have with the mistreatment of the park's wildlife.
Abusers dominate the lakeside without fear of being held accountable for their actions.
Sept. 3, 2011, 10:57 am
charles t from brooklyn says:
that swan couldn't have removed the hook on its own. somebody has to check the anglers. they're everywhere at the lake and the worst ones cast right at the birds.
Sept. 3, 2011, 11:07 am
Rina Deych, RN from Boro Park says:
Kudos to Anne-Katrin and Ed for a stunning rescue! Fishing is not recreation to fish and other wildlife. It is torture. It would be ridiculous enough to impale an animal on a hook, just to throw it back injured and in pain (and sometimes dying). It is even worse when the very basic rules are not followed (like using plain - NOT barbed - hooks, and - oh my, what a concept - discarding loose fishing line and hooks in receptacles provided so that waterfowl, turtles, and others are not impaled and entangled - and sometimes STRANGLED). Clearly many, if not most, people fishing are not following the rules. Until fishing is banned (and I hope that day comes soon), in the very least, there needs to be enforcement of the rules. While I'm happy to see the park looking cleaner these days, I am not seeing anyone enforcing the fishing regulations. This needs to start happening immediately. Rina Deych, RN / Wildlife Rehabilitator
Sept. 3, 2011, 11:09 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"It would be ridiculous enough to impale an animal on a hook, just to throw it back injured and in pain"

Tell that to all the pierced kids in Williamsburg!
Sept. 3, 2011, 11:13 am
Joan from Windsor Terrace says:
The amount of neglect not dealt with begins and ends with the Alliance. What goes on is a reflection on the deteriorating lake conditions. One abuse unchecked creates another.
Sept. 3, 2011, 11:46 am
Craig from Kensington says:
If enforcement is employed, there will be less harm done by those who have done whatever they pleased for years. They won't come back as often, if they know someone might write a citation.
Right now, there is no motivation for them to stop what they are doing.
Sept. 3, 2011, 12:26 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Much love to Anne and Ed from ArKady; what you do for the least of these you do for We.
Sept. 3, 2011, 1:21 pm
Lauren from Park Slope says:
This swan was hooked and injured twice! We mustn't ignore this sort of abuse in public parks any longer. All the people I know love this swan family and it's heartbreaking to see them injured so much.
Sept. 3, 2011, 2:25 pm
David from Ditmas Park says:
Hope there aren't any infections :/

Thanks to those who care about this issue and especially to those like Anne and Ed who are doing something about it.
Sept. 3, 2011, 3:14 pm
Marion from Manhattan says:
A huge thanks to Anne and Ed for saving ANOTHER bird from ANOTHER fishing hook injury, suffering, and horrible death.

I just can not comprehend this WTH is going on with PP....there should be NO FISHING. In fact there is no real fishing because the fish can't even be taken and eaten...they are just tortured by play fishing. Fishing is bad enough but this goes beyond nderstanding...torturing the fish and wildlife for NOTHING!!

Who is it again who is running the insane asylum at PP?
Sept. 3, 2011, 5:42 pm
John from New York says:
Harm to wildlife in a public park is neither inevitable nor natural. Why is it still treated as such? Stop the chatter and excuses and enforce the rules!
Sept. 3, 2011, 5:45 pm
Bettie from park slope says:
I see people fishing with big lures and barbed hooks right where the 5 cygnets like to hang out by the boathouse. There should be signs, at least, to keep them from harm. I am very grateful to Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman for the info and help they provide.
Sept. 3, 2011, 7:56 pm
Dan from Tribeca says:
That's a stunning photo gallery. Wish it weren't about such a painful subject
Sept. 3, 2011, 8:50 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"I see people fishing with big lures and barbed hooks right where the 5 cygnets like to hang out by the boathouse. There should be signs, at least, to keep them from harm."

Waste of time. Swans can't read.
Sept. 3, 2011, 11:07 pm
Brian from Windsor Terrace says:
Visitors to the park don't come to watch people mess around at fishing. They leave their garbage and do not take their waste with them. Catch and release with barbed hooks is a joke!
Sept. 4, 2011, 12:23 pm
Roger/Claire from Park Slope says:
Shame on the Prospect Park Alliance for ignoring the obvious for so long and for being only able to make excuses for your inaction when it comes to illegal fishing.
Sept. 4, 2011, 1:22 pm
a person says:
The Alliance has not been ignoring illegal fishing, they have been busy considering forming a committee.
Sept. 5, 2011, 7:02 am
moshe aron kestenbaum from williamsburg ODA says:
Seatbelt dogs, support the introduction of a bill to mandate seatbelting dogs while driving, it will protect the dog and will also protect the driver by not getting distracted . Thank god the swan is being protected, god created the swan for a purpose we should take care of gods creatures
Sept. 5, 2011, 11:50 pm
Christine from Parkside says:
Dear God! Seriously, I can't get myself to walk by the lake anymore. TOO PAINFUL! If it's painful for me to see, I can't imagine how painful it is to the wildlife being maimed.

They allow these people to fish and they fish right next to a swimming bird.

DO SOMETHING!!! AND DO IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sept. 9, 2011, 1:28 pm

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