OLYMPIA—An Auburn woman who was holding a wild mallard duck in captivity will be allowed to help prepare the animal for re-release to a nearby lake, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said today.
The 11-month-old mallard has been housed at a licensed rehabilitation center after Fish and Wildlife officers seized it from Diane Erdmann Aug. 12.
Under an agreement reached today, Erdmann must follow animal-care guidelines from WDFW wildlife biologists, and must release the duck within several months once it is ready for flight. The mallard cannot be released immediately because its primary flight feathers had been clipped.
The agreement requires Erdmann to keep the duck in a clean, safe environment with access to green vegetation and freestanding water; refrain from clipping its flight feathers; and allow a WDFW wildlife biologist to check on the animal’s welfare as needed.
“We feel this is the best outcome for the state and the wild animal,” said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings about the agreement.
Under state law, Koenings has the authority to issue a permit for an individual to care for a wild animal temporarily until it is ready for release to the wild. Although Erdmann will be allowed to care for the duck, the animal will remain under state jurisdiction until it is released into the wild.
In related news, the Auburn City Attorney’s office said today that an Auburn Police Dept. investigation into allegations by Erdmann did not support filing charges against the two Fish and Wildlife officers who seized the duck. The officers seized the animal after receiving a citizen complaint about a wild duck being kept in captivity in an office.
Meanwhile, WDFW administrators will continue an earlier-announced internal review of the Aug. 12 actions by its Fish and Wildlife officers.