Animal rescues

Highland City Partners with Local Animal Rescues to Stop Duck Culling | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy of Adison Smith

Adison Smith, founder of Wasatch Wanderers, center, poses with Erin Wells, Deputy City Administrator of Highland, and Mayor Kurt Ostler.

Every year, domesticated ducks are bought from feed stores for adorable Easter gifts before being dumped in local ponds when they become too much of a hassle to care for.

Throwing ducks is not only illegal according to Utah Codeit also has disastrous consequences for ducks and ponds.

Because domesticated ducks are too big to fly and ill-equipped to forage in the wild, many of them succumb to the elements just weeks after being released. Those that survive reproduce and wreak havoc on local water quality, causing increases in E. coli.

Once a duck was released into a local pond, the owner unwittingly transferred responsibility for the animal to the city government responsible for maintaining the pond.

In the past, Highland, like many other towns in Utah, turned to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to remove ducks from the Highland Glen Park pond with a method called culling, a process dark and expensive in which domestic ducks are extracted from the bodies. of water and killed.

However, this spring will be different. Highland City will begin partnering with local rescues Wasatch Wanderers and Puddle Ducks Rescue to remove and relocate domestic ducks to Highland Glen.

According to Adison Smith, the founder of Wasatch Wanderers, the duck cull at Highland Glen Park had already been a point of frustration for his organization until a productive meeting with Highland City officials earlier this month.

“There’s no need to have this argument or these tough feelings when we want what’s best for the ducks and they want to save the town’s money, and we’re saving those ducks the do for them,” she said. “I think we’re kind of on the same page now.”

According to Highland City Mayor Kurt Ostler, this abandonment of duck culling can be attributed to the efforts of Wasatch Wanderers and other local rescues.

“Highland City didn’t come for them, they came for Highland City. So it’s really the residents who get involved, see a need and (are) ready to step in,” he said. “You have to bring things to your attention and see that there is another option. Because someone can say, ‘Hey, we don’t want you to kill the ducks,’ but you go, ‘OK, what are some of our other options?’

According to Ostler, it is only possible for the city to halt the culling of ducks in Highland Glen Park while community members and rescuers are ready to step in and take responsibility for bringing the animals back.

“If we don’t have the resources, where would we go? What are we going to do if we don’t have a resource like Wasatch Wanderers to help us with adoption? ” he said. “I don’t know if we have any city workers who would go out and catch these ducks and try to find a home; it is really these organizations that help us.

The city also intends to put up educational signage in Highland Glen Park to inform residents of the impact the duck spill may have on the environment and the animals themselves.

At a May 3 Highland City Council meeting, Wasatch Wanderers presented a Humane Long Island International Duck Defender Award to Highland City to thank staff members for their efforts.

“Wasatch Wanderers appreciates that your city is setting an example for so many others in forward-thinking methods using educational signage to deter animal abandonment and human resources for removal and repatriation if necessary,” said Smith said during the meeting. “This story has attracted national viewers and supporters and Duck Defenders wanted to show their gratitude for your choice not to kill ducks and to bring about positive change for these animals. Thanks very much.”

Although it will take time for Smith and his fellow rescuers to remove the nearly 20 abandoned domestic ducks from Highland Glen and prepare them for adoption, at the time of this article another 70 ducks were available for adoption from Wasatch Wanderers. .

Those interested in adopting a rescued duck can contact [email protected] or visit for more information.


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