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November 18, 2011- By Steven Greer, MD
Viewers will recall our previous stories from the spring following the fate of this years’ mallard duck hatchlings. A “mystery man” “Wildlife expert” had been taking the newly hatched ducks into his BPC apartment, nursing them, then transferring them into the Waterfall Pond, mistakenly thinking that the manmade ecosystem could accommodate the birds without starvation or drowning. (In fact, BatteryPark.TV intervention was required to allow the hatchlings of 2010 to survive to adult without starvation)
However, this year, most of the birds drowned rapidly, within a week of being transferred from the park into the pond. BatteryPark.TV was not present when the ducklings were first moved into the pond. Despite an extensive investigation with the park staff and local apartment buildings, the “mystery man” wildlife lover was unable to be located.
That man has now come forth to tell his story. The well-intentioned local resident who has been caring for a variety of struggling animals is a federal employee. We are keeping his name confidential and will call him Jerry.
Jerry’s daughter recently stumbled upon our BatteryPark.TV reporting by searching the Internet and told her father, who then contacted us. He added some crucial details to the unsolved mystery of how the ducklings were killed this year.
In our June 7 story, we reported that the hatchlings were irresponsibly placed into the Waterfall Pond when the water levels were too high and no circular islands existed to prevent drowning. According to Jerry, this was not the case.
Jerry said, “They (The Parks Conservancy headed by Tess Huxley) deliberately raised the water level of the pond on purpose to flood the birds out….When I put the ducklings in the pond, the water level was low and there were islands with tall grass, just as there had been the previous year in 2010…The Captain of the PEP officers gave me the OK to put the ducks in the pond and helped me…I have a record”
BatteryPark.TV did not begin to witness the events until after 10 of the 15 ducklings had drowned. We then reported on the one-by-one disappearance of the remaining five ducklings. A Parks Conservancy staff member at the time claimed that he saw a bird of prey and we attributed their demise to being eating by a blue heron. In light of these new testimonials by the man who actually placed the ducklings into the pond, we are not so confident that malicious human behavior was not involved.
Tess Huxley is on record for stating, essentially, that the mandate of her agency is to manage the vegetation only, and that wildlife are on their own in a survival of the fittest. She has said, Mother Nature will take its course”. The problem arises when animals are placed by humans into manmade ecosystems that require human interference to avoid animal cruelty, such as the Waterfall Pond.
The Waterfall Pond looks natural, but in reality, it is just a concrete swimming pool with decorative plants and steep sides that prohibit the ducklings from escaping until they can fly. The plant vegetation is not adequate to prevent starvation, and the round islands are inadequate to prevent drowning when the park staff raise the water levels.
To not provide human aid after the fact when the birds are placed into the pond is neglect. To intentionally flood out the birds would be a criminal act of animal cruelty.
Moreover, the Koi fish placed in the pond by the Tess Huxley’s staff require human intervention. Although the fish are resilient and can hibernate in the winter in most cases, in extreme cold as we saw this winter, the ice becomes too thick, oxygen to the water is cut off, and the fish will die. Tess Huxley’s hands-off policy of not intervening with the wildlife caused the Koi fish to die this year when the ice froze thicker than usual. Jerry told us, “I tried to crack the ice this year (realizing the fish were in jeopardy), but they (the parks staff) would not let me.” See our previous story “Who killed the Koi?”
(The BPCA did not reply to our requests)