A Cranbrook family is urging fishers at Idlewild Lake to be aware of the impact their activities have on wildlife, after coming across a young goose entangled in discarded fishing line and seriously injured.
The Cranbrook park is famous for its several families of geese, whose young are born and grow up there. The park is also open to fishing — people with disabilities, seniors, and kids (who can be accompanied by adults with an anglers license).
Kristina Brehm told the Townsman in an email that she, her husband and kids were fishing at Idlewild Lake on Father’s Day weekend, when they noticed an adolescent goose lying by herself. Kristina and her son cautiously approached, careful not to upset the young bird.
“Thinking it was odd that she was alone and didn’t move when we got close, I told my husband who went over to investigate further,” Brehm said. “Upon a closer look he found the poor thing was absolutely wrapped in fishing line.”
Brehm’s husband was able to cut the line from the young goose’s body, but it was so tightly wrapped around both of her legs that he needed Kristina’s help to hold the goose down so he could cut it free. After almost an hour of trying to dig the line out of her legs, he was finally able to get it all off. But the the line had been so tight that it had cut her down to the bone.
“Once we let her go she stumbled down to the water very clumsily and swam very slowly to the other side of the lake, drinking water the entire time,” Brehm said. “We watched as she pulled herself up onto the beach to rest by herself. We could see her family off in the distance and we hoped they would reunite.”
Brehm and her family found more discarded fishing line all over the dock at Idlewild, and their daughter even caught a hook and line out of the water under the impression she had a fish on her hook.
“We just want people to be aware of their impacts on wildlife when they are spending time in their territory,” Brehm said. “We wanted to share our story to spread awareness, to clean up any fishing line whether it’s yours or not.”
The family went back up to Idlewild later in the week to see if they could spot their goose, and see how it was making out.
“We found a group of geese sunning in their usual spot,” Brehm said. “Once they caught wind of us, they hurried into the water; and there at the end of the group limping on one leg was our goose — we were certain.
“We truly hope this was her and that this story had a happy ending, but had we not found her a few days earlier, I’m not sure it would have.”