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Couple rescues young crow from muddy pond at Jericho Park

A local wildlife rescue group is raising concerns about the impact the hot dry summer has had on the pond at Jericho Beach Park.

Mike Seears rescued a crow stuck in a mud pit on Sept. 5, 2017.

Diana Seears/Contributed

Mike Seears rescued a crow stuck in a mud pit on Sept. 5, 2017.

A wildlife rescue group is raising concerns that Vancouver’s hot, dry summer has dried out the ponds at Jericho Beach Park, creating a muddy pit that could pose a danger to children and animals.

The prolonged, extremely dry summer (Vancouver received 7 millimetres of rain in all of July and August) has transformed the park’s normally lush ponds into a mucky pit that has trapped several birds, said Burnaby-based Wildlife Rescue in an email on Wednesday.

But natural wetlands often experience low seasonal water levels and wetland plants and animals are adapted to those conditions, according to Vancouver Park Board biologist Nick Page.

“The ponds in Jericho Park only receive surface runoff and are not filled with potable water,” Page said in an email to Metro on Wednesday. “The prolonged summer drought has lowered the water level and exposed the mud that has accumulated over time.”

On Tuesday, Kitsilano residents Mike and Diana Seears were at Jericho when they heard the cry of a young crow struggling in the mud. The couple threw some branches onto the mud, stretched a ladder across and hauled the crow from the thick goop. In addition to the baby crow that they rescued, they could see another crow and a duck that were also trapped, said Diana Seears.

While they were rescuing the bird, two young boys started to walk into the mud to help, before Diana warned them to stay away.

“A kid would not be able to get out,” said Mike Seears.

The Seears washed the crow, took it home, fed it some breakfast and released it Wednesday morning.

The ponds at Jericho Beach Park faced a similar situation during the hot, dry summer of 2015.

In fact, some wildlife such as wading birds benefit from the seasonal mudflats that are exposed by the low water level, adding the ponds will refill in the fall when rains return, according to Page.

The Park Board installed fences and signage around the ponds Wednesday to prevent people from accessing the ponds.

Anyone who sees an animal in distress in Vancouver can report the incident to the Park Board.

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