NEW YORK (AP) — Ariel Cordova-Rojas went to New York’s Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last week to celebrate her 30th birthday.
She ended up rescuing a swan with lead poisoning, taking it to a wildlife clinic by foot, car and subway with the help of both friends and strangers.
Cordova-Rojas is trained in identifying and rescuing wildlife, the New York Times reported, having worked at the Wild Bird Fund clinic in Manhattan for five years.
She got to the Queens wildlife refuge on November 5 and spotted a swan alone in the grass on the side of the water.
She approached it and saw it was unable to walk or fly. She wrapped the 17-pound bird, which she said is named Bae, in her jacket and carried it a mile to the refuge entrance, the newspaper reported.
Calls to various animal rescue services and the ranger stations yielded no immediate assistance. Then a couple with a car agreed to drive the swan and Cordova-Rojas to a nearby subway station. (The couple persuaded yet another friend with a car to help get Cardova-Rojas, her bike and the swan to a subway station.) An employee of Wild Bird Fund met them at the Nostrand station in Brooklyn and helped them get to the organisation’s clinic on the Upper West Side.
Cordova-Rojas told the Associated Press (AP) the swan was being treated for lead poisoning and with anti-fungals and anti-bacterial medications. She has made a friend of another swan at the clinic and is gaining strength and mobility.
It could take three weeks or up to two months before Bae returns to the refuge, Cordova-Rojas said. The tale of the swan’s rescue saga inspired an outpouring of affection.
“I think it just shows the immense compassion of New Yorkers. People always think that we are rude and heartless, but we are just busy and have places to go, so we move fast,” Cordova-Rojas said.
“Even though we live in a concrete jungle, we are surrounded by nature and wildlife if you just take a second to look around. The wildlife are just as much New Yorkers as we are, and it is our duty to keep each other safe.”