A goose found impaled by an arrow weeks ago was on Monday released back to Baton Rouge's City Park lakes after recovering at LSU's Wildlife Hospital — and LSU veterinarian Javier Nevarez said this is not their first such case.
"It's happened multiple times," Nevarez, an LSU professor of zoological medicine, said after the release. "Within the last year, that's probably the fourth or fifth water fowl (hit by an arrow)."
The goose released Monday, which is a Canada goose, had been found with an arrow completely through her body, Nevarez said, but luckily no vital organs had been struck. Their team of veterinarians at the LSU-run animal hospital was able to remove the arrow and then monitor the goose for two and a half weeks, providing antibiotics and pain medication.
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"We treat them for free and try to release them back into the wild," said Nevarez, the director of the Wildlife Hospital. He said most of the other water birds struck by arrows have survived, but not all.
East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control officers were called to capture the goose on Mardi Gras day, bringing the injured animal to the hospital, said Hilton Cole, director of the Animal Control and Resource Center.
When she was released Monday, the goose immediately flew a few feet in the air, then entered the water.
"I wasn't going to miss it for anything," Cole said, joking that he got "goosebumps" at the release. "It was a positive thing for Baton Rouge."
Cole said authorities have not been able to pin down who might have shot the goose, or if the other incidents might be connected. He said that in the last few years they have been called for birds attacked in a few ways, most commonly an arrow, but they have also found a duck struck by a blow dart.
He said federal, state and city laws protect migratory water fowl, but if they become a nuisance, Animal Control can be called to attend to them.
"We have absolutely no idea who (did this). It's a wild goose chase," Cole said. "We just hope it stops."