All Tied Up

Ranger Jecy Weber and Seasonal Ranger John Paul Sanchez work to free a goose entangled in fishing line. The goose was released uninjured. (Photo by Ranger Dick Smith)

The job of the park ranger has been defined simply as, “protecting the park from the people, protecting the people from the park, and protecting the people from the people.” As you can see from this statement, our duties can vary widely. Over the weekend, rangers received a report of a Canada goose entangled in fishing line. We get calls to help wildlife on a regular basis. Often there is nothing we can do, not from a lack of desire, but rather from not being equipped to help. We are not wildlife rehabilitators. We do not have the staff or the equipment to take care of sick or injured animals. Also, we don’t like to interfere with Mother Nature. This means that in most cases, if humans did not lend a hand in the animal’s injuries or illness, we will let nature takes its course. If the animal’s injuries or illness did involve human influence, then we will intervene. In such cases we refer people to Ohio Wildlife Center, which is where we take injured animals we find in the parks. They have the staff, the equipment and experience to handle sick and injured wildlife. We are super thankful to have them as a resource here in Central Ohio.

Often, when we get calls about an injured animal, the animal is still very mobile and we are unable to catch it to help.  In this case, the goose was not very mobile. The goose appeared to be uninjured, just entangled in fishing line and not able to move freely. Left unassisted, the goose would not have been able to fly, or swim or walk well, leaving it vulnerable to predators and unable to feed properly. Rangers were able to cut and remove the fishing line and free the goose from its entanglement. Since the goose was uninjured no other action was required and the goose was free to go about its business. As a reminder, to reduce dangers to wildlife when fishing, please pick up any discarded fishing line and dispose of it properly in one of the nearby trash cans or other receptacles provided.  If there are no receptacles, please dispose of it at home.

Please do not feed or try to pet animals in the parks. Visitors have been injured trying to feed geese, raccoons, turkey, deer and squirrels. In addition, feeding bread and other human food to ducks and geese can make them ill. It is also unlawful to harm or harass animals (i.e. chase geese, etc). If you see an injured wild animal, please contact the ranger on duty for assistance. Phone numbers are listed on this website and on bulletin boards throughout the parks.