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Rescued gosling in Cariboo a reminder to keep wildlife wild: vet

The gosling survived a collision with a car recently, but his family did not

A little gosling that was the lone survivor of its family after being hit by a vehicle in the Horsefly area will have to find a new home in a wildlife park after an attempt to reintroduce the little guy back into the wild in Williams Lake failed.

Affectionately named ‘Little Honk’ by his caregiver, Dr. Doug Magnowski and his team at the Animal Care Hospital of Williams Lake, the gosling was rescued days prior by someone camping in the Horsefly area and later brought to the Animal Care Hospital for treatment.

Magnowski said they had to keep the gosling for a few more days for observation to ensure it recovered from its injuries and also that it didn’t have Avian influenza.

After giving it the all-clear Wednesday (May 29), Magnowski loaded Little Honk into a small crate over the lunch hour and walked the trails and bridges at Scout Island Nature Centre before discovering several adult geese caring for dozens of young at the water’s edge on the lake.

Though a little bit older than the rescued goslings, the group lingering in the waters at the RC Cotton bridge were the best shot at reintroducing the gosling back into the wild before it was too bonded to humans, said Magnowski.

Magnowski slowly approached the water’s edge and gently placed the gosling in the water. Little Honk immediately swam to join the group but was promptly rejected by the goslings and the adult geese protecting them.

After about five minutes, Magnowski spotted the gosling, distinguishable with his yellow feathers, drifting alone with the current toward a marshy area and Williams Lake.

“They didn’t accept him. I better go see if I can get him.”

As soon as the gosling heard Magnowski’s voice, he quickly swam toward him and into his waiting hands to be scooped up and put back into the safety of his crate.

“The poor little guy doesn’t look like he was accepted and so now we will come up with another plan so he might wind up going to one of the wildlife parks or something,” said Magnowski, with the gosling content to be drying off his feathers.

“That’s not the way we want these things to go. Ideally we want him to be integrated back into the wild but unfortunately he was several days in captivity and a few more days trying to get him better.”

A longtime veterinarian in the community, Magnowski’s Animal Care Hospital is the only option for injured or displaced wildlife in the region.

He reminds the public not to pick up baby animals they find, especially fawns which are often left alone by their mothers as they graze, as the options for the animals once they are removed from the wild are slim.

“Wildlife are meant to be in the wild.”

Magnowski’s team recently successfully treated a Western painted Turtle which is now on the mend, and last year successfully reintroduced a baby loon with a new family of loons at McLeese Lake.

He believes their volunteer work rescuing the area’s wildlife is their moral obligation as well as a way to give back to their community.

READ MORE: Painted turtle run over by vehicle near Cariboo nature centre

Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

I began my journalism career in daily and weekly newspapers in Alberta.
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