Monday, June 13, 2011

Foster Families in Nature

Cheaper By the Dozen - The addition of a
twelfth gosling doesn't phase this family.
 Lake Erie Nature & Science Center successfully released two young goslings into new "foster families" at Westlake’s Clague Park, following treatment by our rehabilitation staff for leg injuries.

One of the goslings was injured by jumping or falling off the roof of Westlake High School where his parents had made a nest. Groundskeepers at the school found him dragging his leg and brought him to the Center's where he was given a ‘boot’ to help his leg heal and the opportunity to recover peacefully.

Although the releases were completed successfully, it can be very difficult to return young animals back into the wild once they are separated from their families. As shown in the video below, our rehabilitation staff had to exercise caution and keep their distance during the release because parent geese are very protective and will charge at anyone who approaches their young too closely.

Geese will accept other baby geese into their family only if they are the same size or smaller than their own young. The same cannot be said of mallard ducks. Rehabilitation staff must find the original family to return the baby to when releasing injured ducklings because any attempt to place the baby with a foster family ends in rejection.

Our rehab staffers emphasize that they only take in baby animals that are seriously injured because human care should be a last resort. We strongly urge you to call Lake Erie Nature & Science Center at 440-871-2900 prior to attempting to rescue any wildlife, especially babies. Oftentimes baby animals are mistaken for being orphaned or injured when they are simply exhibiting normal wildlife behavior. Their best chance for survival is in the wild where their family can care for them.

You'll find more information in the June 14 issue of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer.

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