Conservation officer swims into Abbotsford pond to free goose tangled in net
VANCOUVER -- A goose is once again loose thanks to the efforts of a conservation officer, who released the distressed bird from a fishing net in Abbotsford earlier this month.
Calls came in to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service on July 9 about a Canada goose splashing on the surface of Mill Lake, a popular fishing spot at the centre of a public park.
When conservation officer Eric Tyukodi arrived at the shoreline, he could see the goose was unable to swim very far or fly off. Tangled in a net submerged below the surface of the water, it was trapped and becoming increasingly tired and panicked.
“There were a lot of geese in the water but they were all swimming by just fine,” Tyukodi told CTV News Vancouver.
The trapped bird, however, seemed to be having trouble breathing.
“He didn’t look like he could move,” said Tyukodi.
The goose was about 25 feet from shore. The quickest route to reach it was also the wettest.
Tyukodi tied a rope to the edge of the boardwalk and stripped off his uniform shirt and boots, leaving on his wool socks to cushion against any lures and hooks left in the water.
He took along a knife.
“I jumped in the water and swam to him. He tried to bite me and peck at me. He was hissing,” said the conservation officer who quickly saw what had trapped the bird. “There were strands wrapped around his back, keeping his wings pinned.”
The rescue effort took nearly seven minutes. If the goose had been further towards the centre of the lake, Tyukodi said he would have needed a boat.
“It’s difficult to see how badly he was caught because the water is so murky. The last thing I wanted to do was get my head underwater.”
In a short video posted online, Tyukodi’s head is visible bobbing in the lily pads beside the bird as he works under water to loosen the net from the animal’s back and both its feet.
He does briefly get submerged as he cuts away tangled strands of the net.
The goose swam away, and Tyukodi said he was grateful he took the rope because he was also exhausted and needed the anchor to haul himself back to shore.
He reminds the public that multiple signs are posted around Mill Lake indicating swimming is not safe.
To contact the B.C. Conservation Officer Service about animals in distress, call 1-877-952-7277.