Chiswick Lifeboat rescues family of goslings

Images above: a Chiswick Lifeboat crew, a rescued gosling

Chiswick Lifeboat volunteer Holly Walters was out on a crew exercise on the River Thames on Friday (25 March) when she noticed a baby bird waddling across the deck of a Port of London Authority barge near Putney. On closer inspection, Holly found three other goslings were trapped in the vessel’s cargo, cheeping, with no safe route out or help from their parents.

With no mother goose in sight, Holly alerted the crew of a Port London Authority boat nearby, who said they would keep an eye on the goslings, and contacted the Swan Sanctuary charity in south west London to request their support. The following day, at noon, the RNLI volunteer teamed up with Chiswick crew member Tim Hallac and a vet from the Swan Sanctuary and came back to free the trapped goslings.

During the operation, the goslings scattered around the cargo, finding the most uncommon corners and hiding places to stay away from those who came to their rescue. Finally, after half an hour, the vet carefully collected the tiny geese in a box and transported them to the Swan Sanctuary for a check up. Because their parents had abandoned them, the Swan Sanctuary put the goslings in their crèche in Shepperton, where they will stay with other baby birds until they are old enough to be placed on a lake.

Above: a video of the goslings trapped on the barge

Goslings ‘would not have survived’ had they not been rescued

Holly Walters, Chiswick RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew member, said:

“It is testament to the caring nature of the volunteers of Chiswick Crew and others that we managed to help these lovely little fellas. When there is great coordination amongst organisations seeking to protect our river and all those creatures (big and small) that live and thrive on it, wonderful things can be achieved!”

Tim Hallac, Chiswick RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew member, said:

‘As soon as I found out about the abandoned tykes, the least I could do was to help Holly and Sally from The Swan Sanctuary get safely to them. After a little reluctance on their part, the animals were helped off the barge and into the caring hands of people who will make sure they receive the best care and treatment.’

Without the help of Chiswick Lifeboat and the care of the Swan Sanctuary, the goslings would not have survived because they were not old enough to fly away.

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,700 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people. In 2021, Chiswick RNLI had 222 launches, helped 144 people and saved one life.

Image above: the baby goslings with others at the Swan Sanctuary 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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