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November 15, 2010 / Media / Brooklyn news / Podcast / Meadows of Shame
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The inside story on how Achilles was saved

The Brooklyn Paper
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A swan with an illegal barbed fishhook through its foot was saved from a painful fate by two wildlife enthusiasts on Friday, in the latest clash between waterfowl and Prospect Park fishermen.

Park watchdogs Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman first noticed last week that their beloved cygnet had three barbed hooks through its webbed foot that was trailing a 10-foot-long fishing line.

They dubbed the gray cygnet Achilles, after the legendary Greek warrior with the tragically weak ankle.

The pair then hatched a plan to capture Achilles and remove the hook — at whatever cost.

“We waited for him to jump out of the water to preen himself and I got in between him and the lake and grabbed him,” said Bahlman. “He squealed like a pig.”

Bahlman held the panicked bird from behind while Titze — a licensed wildlife rehabilitator — swooped in with a pair of pliers and removed the hook, which still had a tiny shred of fowl-flesh on it hours later.

By Sunday, Achilles was back to his normal self, flying and feeding on breadcrumbs given to him by park-goers (which is against park rules, by the way).

A spokesman for Prospect Park, Eugene Patron, was thrilled that the couple had removed the hook from the swan.

“That’s great,” said Patron.

He added that fishermen “should follow all the rules and not use barbed hooks. … Thousands of people enjoy fishing at the park and most do so responsibly.”

Still, this is far from the first time hooked waterfowl have been an issue in the park.

Last winter, park-goers sounded the alarm on a stunning array of fishing-related injuries to park waterfowl, including the beloved “Beaky,” a goose that was missing the top half of its beak — likely due to a fishhook.

Beaky is thought to have been swept up in the citywide goose massacre by federal agents in July.

And in August, the Parks Department admitted that it had not issued a single fishing-related summons last year — despite the widespread concerns.

Updated 5:14 pm, November 17, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Colin from Windsor Terrace says:
A heartwarming story to read with my breakfast on this chilly overcast morning.
Also of note:
The park's spokesperson's enthusiastic quote and I hope support for the actions of the two rescuers at Prospect Park Lake. Thank you Mr. Patron
Bravo all around and keep up the good work.
Nov. 15, 2010, 9:42 am
Alex from Park Slope says:
Great story! Love the videos and congratulations to the rescuers.
Nov. 15, 2010, 10:15 am
Virginia from Prospect Heights says:
I love Prospect Park and I love this documentary style video.
Finally some encouragement from the Prospect Park Alliance. The couple in your story has continued to show how much they care.
The recognition has been long overdue.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!
Nov. 15, 2010, 10:18 am
Benjamin from Park Slope says:
The video with your special guests is so well done. There is a spontaneous combustion that happens between you and the rescuers. You have brought the story to life for us.
Thank you
Nov. 15, 2010, 10:25 am
Caroline from Park Slope says:
Thank you Ed, Anne-Katrin and Brooklyn Paper for beeing caring and funny at the same time. This style of reporting shows a grace we don't see very often.
Nov. 15, 2010, 10:32 am
Joseph from Windsor Terrace says:
This is a most enjoyable and informative 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
The interviewer's fast-paced style is very engaging and keeps us on our toes.
All wildlife in urban settings need protection and when harmed appropriate care.
This story is the perfect example of how things can play out well when qualified and motivated people get involved.
Nov. 15, 2010, 11:09 am
Walter from Park Slope says:
To be able to remove barbed hooks when they are attached to a lure under a swan's foot, takes a calm hand under difficult conditions.
Brava to Ms. Titze
Nov. 15, 2010, 12:25 pm
Bonita from Los angeles says:
Bravo!! This shows the true stewards of the park. Everyone loves to see these beautiful creatures saved.
Nov. 15, 2010, 3:42 pm
Regina from Park Slope says:
Keep on rescuing the wildlife at Prospect Park. My family and I have felt helpless when came upon an injured animal in the park.
We see sick, glassy-eyed raccoons behaving erratically. Dead turtles and fish near the bank of the lake.
Every rescue is worth being acknowledged.
Nov. 16, 2010, 10:48 am
Shawn from Windsor Terrace says:
The lack cooperation from park staff is a major concern. Try to report hurt animals and you get treated as a pest.
Nov. 16, 2010, 11:57 am
Bree from Windsor Terrace says:
There are so many abuses going on at Prospect Park and the Alliance looks the other way.
Where is the praise for these two from the parks department?
Nov. 16, 2010, 12:19 pm
Thomas from Park Slope says:
Tupper Thomas behaves like an immature child when it comes to constructive criticism.
She could this one time step out of her sandbox to thank the rescuers and show the public she cares.
Nov. 16, 2010, 12:56 pm
john from Ditmas says:
Thank you Ed and Anne. Your persistence will bring rewards for
the wild life.
Nov. 17, 2010, 12:03 pm
Walker from Park Slope says:
Achilles sure is lucky to have three barbed hooks removed patiently by someone who cares.
Great job
Nov. 17, 2010, 12:16 pm
Morgan from Greenpoint says:
Wonderful work, Anne-Katrin and Ed!
Nov. 17, 2010, 5:20 pm
spanky from Texas says:
the dude in the orange get up sounds like an idiot
July 30, 2011, 9:48 pm
ask from tx says:
yup, the dude in orange is an idiot.
obama & biden!
geezus, what a moron.

btw...great work & kudos to the folks saving the swan!
July 30, 2011, 10:15 pm

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