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Wildlife, Traffic Don't Mix

Duck Crossing Sign

The Cayman Wildlife Rescue reminds the public to avoid hurting wildlife while driving, and not to feed wildlife by the roadside.

The Consequences of Feeding Wildlife Roadside

In August Cayman Wildlife Rescue placed a sign along the Linford Pierson to caution drivers that there was a family of West Indian Whistling Ducks which has nested along the busy stretch of road. The sign was a joint project between Vision Marketing & Signs of Paradise. The support from the public was outstanding and CWR received many calls & emails from members of the community concerned about the duck family. Alison Corbett, Project Manager of Cayman Wildlife Rescue stated, "The ducks have nested here for many years and each year some of the young were reported to be killed by oncoming traffic." Alison Corbett also observed many people feeding the ducks along the highway and pleaded with them to stop. "Unfortunately feeding wildlife roadside has deadly consequences. I think one of the reasons why the ducks choose this unfavourable site is due to this factor." By the end of September the 5 young were fully fledged and would have been able to leave the wetland area. By October they were found to still be habituating the dangerous wetland and were still being fed by the public. "Sometimes when people think they are helping the situation they are in fact making it worse." On Sunday one of the young was sadly killed by oncoming traffic. "It deeply upsets the volunteers of CWR and we hope that the public will learn from this mishap." Cayman Wildlife Rescue strongly advises the public never to feed wildlife along the roads. This act is dangerous not only the wildlife, but also very dangerous to people themselves. Alison Corbett expressed "I would like to thank everyone for their concern and for keeping wildlife in mind when driving. Being an active driver and keeping your eyes on the road and roadside is not just a safe driving practice for people, but will also benefit our wildlife." CWR would like to see more signs installed along deadly stretches of road, which are proving to be fatal to wildlife. "Cars continue to be one of the major killers of wildlife and unfortunately most of the animals we have brought in due to cars are usually euthanasia cases. Wildlife and traffic don't mix. We ask drivers to please keep an eye out for the feathered, furred and scaled friends we share the road with." If members of the public find injured wildlife, they can call the 24 hr Wildlife Emergency Hotline 917-BIRD (2473) where dedicated volunteers will provide emergency service & support.

Sidebar:About the West Indian Whistling Duck

Most residents only became familiar with the West Indian Whistling Duck after Hurricane Ivan, when it ventured out of the wetlands and into urban areas in search of food. It is also a nocturnal bird, roosting in the mangroves during the day, flying out to feeding grounds in the evening, and returning to roost just before dawn. There are now several private individuals around the island who feed them on a regular basis. According to Patricia Bradley's "Birds of the Cayman Islands" (Caerulea Press, 1995), the West Indian Whistling Duck is listed as an endangered species and is protected on the island.

Sidebar:About Cayman Wildlife Rescue

Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a programme of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. This project is staffed entirely by volunteers with other full time jobs, and is financed 100% by donations from the public. If you would like to help by donating funds or volunteering time, please contact Alison Corbett at caymanwildliferescue@gmail.com or visit www.caymanwildliferescue.org.

If you come across a wild animal that needs rescue, call the Cable & Wireless sponsored emergency hotline, 917-BIRD. For your own safety and that of the animal, members of the public are requested to not attempt to rescue or care for the animal themselves - rather call the hotline and trained volunteers will attend to the animal.