It’s a real-life “Ugly Duckling” story.
A gosling has been adopted by a pair of Prospect Park ducks — known to some regular park-goers as Lily and Marvin — after the baby goose was abandoned by its parents.
“It is apparent to me they’ve formed a bond,” said David Karopkin, the organizer of GooseWatch NYC, which advocates for co-existence with urban wildlife and monitors the government harassment and killing of geese throughout New York City. “They have some type of family dynamic.”
But as adorable as this avian adoption story seems, Karopkin says that the orphaned gosling actually shows the sad but inevitable consequences of the city’s anti-goose policies.
“It is a heartwarming situation but a tragic overall picture,” said Karopkin. “It is sad, scary, and may be indicative of the potentially harmful wildlife management techniques being used.”
Karopkin said it is likely that this gosling’s parents were driven to abandon their young by the city’s goose-harassment tactics — which the local wildlife advocate says includes using a border collie to chase geese out of Prospect Park.
Karopkin’s group was spawned by the infamous 2010 Prospect Park goose massacre carried out by federal agents to reduce the number of geese near the city’s airports, where they can pose a danger to planes taking off.
The city’s efforts to frighten geese out of the parks are less brutal than the federal cull — in which 250 geese were rounded up and gassed to death — but Karopkin noted that even nonlethal tactics can have tragic consequences
The Prospect Park Alliance, a private group that helps the city manage the park, is working to place the gosling with Volunteers for Wildlife, a non-profit wildlife hospital and education center in Long Island.
“We will be arranging for the gosling to be delivered to them,” said Eric Landau, a spokesperson.
The plan at Volunteers for Wildlife is to help the gosling grow up to be a well-adjusted goose and return to the wild.
“The goal is always to get the animal back into the world,” said Leslie Block, a board member of Volunteers for Wildlife. “Our goal will be to place that gosling with a goose family.”