The whistling duck chicks follow their mother after having been reunited.
Seijosa, Arunachal Pradesh, July 30, 2017: Last week, the IFAW-WTI Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) team based out of Pakke Tiger Reserve helped to reunite the chicks and parents of a family of Indian whistling ducks (Dendrocygna javanica) that had been separated after straying into human habitation. The following is a first-hand account by MVS veterinarian Dr Rinku Gohain:
“A family of whistling ducks, two parents with 10 chicks, had strayed into human habitation near Pao Market in Seijosa, on the fringes of Pakke Tiger Reserve. Villagers informed the Divisional Forest Officer Tana Tapi, who in turn informed our MVS team.
“The father flapped his wings at us, trying to distract us while the chicks ran towards their mother. A joyous reunion happened and the mother led the chicks away.”
Animal keeper Aman Biri and I, accompanied by forest staff Malo Kino, immediately reached the spot. We learned that two of the chicks had been killed by a domestic cat while villagers had taken the other eight to different places, as far as five kilometres away. We could see the parents flying around, calling out desperately to their chicks.
We went searching for the chicks and were able to retrieve all eight. It had become dark by that time though, and while we waited around for some time, the parents could no longer be seen. Fearing the chicks would get killed or picked up again, we took them back to the field office.
Early the next morning we brought the chicks to a nearby riverbed. After about half an hour we saw the parents flying in the distance, calling out to their offspring. The moment they heard their parents the chicks started calling out as well. The parents responded, flying in overhead. We placed the chicks on the ground and retreated, observing from a distance. The parents landed near the chicks but were cautious, keeping a wary eye on us. The father flapped his wings at us, trying to distract us while the chicks ran towards their mother. A joyous reunion happened and the mother led the chicks away. She and her offspring crossed the river and the father joined them a little later.”