OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Weber State University (WSU) has safely moved more than 60 ducks and geese from the campus water pond.
As the campus’s Ada Lindquist Plaza fountain was being drained, 30 ducks and 34 geese were rounded up with the help of the Wasatch Domestic Waterfowl Resource (WDWR), a rescue group.
The whole effort took about 12 hours, WSU says. The animals will eventually be placed in loving homes through adoption. WSU says the frequent emptying of the campus pond for cleaning and maintenance creates a dangerous situation for birds that have made their home in the area.
“Domestic waterfowl cannot fly away, so if they need to escape a predator, their only resource (water) has been taken away,” says Adison Smith, founder of WDWR. “Not only that, but a lot of them depend on the algae in the water for food, so their food source has been cut off as well.”
WSU’s waterfowl have long been considered the university’s unofficial mascots, with their likeness appearing on merchandise, a social media presence, and students waiting to watch the animals cross the road as a campus attraction. But WSU says the waterfowl shouldn’t have lived in the pond at all. The presence of animals today can be attributed to careless owners who abandoned them.
“A lot of people end up having ducks because they think they’re so cute when they’re little and then they realize,” Oh, they’re very careful and they’re loud and I don’t want them ‘, so they abandon them, ”Smith said. “That’s why Weber State had this duck and goose problem in the first place.”
The abandoned ducks and geese that survived, bred, and created the current population that students know today. Just because waterfowl remain a popular attraction on campus doesn’t mean they can continue to live there safely, says WSU.
“Weber State geese were hit by cars and killed or seriously injured, several more geese were killed by an off-leash dog when the pond was emptied in 2020, and many goslings and ducklings in the spring n ‘not reach adulthood,’ shares WSU.
The university has never officially attended to the birds, and WSU says their continued presence results in traffic delays, pedestrian issues, and unwanted debris such as leftover food and droppings.
“We don’t want anyone to feed them,” says Weston Woodward, director of campus services. “It’s a huge mess to clean up on a daily basis, and it promotes the deposit of more of them, people thinking they are taken care of. “
Campus officials have installed new signs telling visitors not to feed or abandon domestic waterfowl in the pond.
“We really appreciate that Weber State is working with us to save their lives and help us put these signs up so we don’t have to in the future,” says Smith.
“We love wildlife, but there is a place for domestic birds and the campus is not necessarily the safest place for them,” says Woodward. “I think Wasatch Domestic Waterfowl Resource is a great organization. We fully support them and the education they are trying to deliver to the public.