After a week-and-a-half of exercise and healthy eating, the 35 junk food-ridden ducks rescued from Marshall Park appear headed toward a full recovery.
All but three of the 35 young mallards have been transferred to Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, east of Jacksonville; 28 left Tuesday morning.
With 17 acres and two natural ponds, Possumwood will allow the malnourished mallards to continue their recovery while giving them the chance to take their leave as they see fit. Officials at the sanctuary say that while some ducks may regrow enough feathers to take flight by the end of this fall, most will have to wait another year.
“These ducks are in the worst shape I've ever seen in terms of nutritional deficiency,” said Toni O'Neil, director at Possumwood. “They are recovering nicely, but the damage that's been done has also affected their organs and systems on the inside. They're still half the size they should be at this age.”
The three remaining ducks at Carolina Waterfowl are keeping a domesticated duck company.
“Ducks are very social animals, and it's really important for them to have friends nearby,” said Deanna Epps, rehabilitation assistant at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. “But once we find a house for the domesticated duck, we will send the remaining three to reunite with their friends.”